The hymn ‘Jerusalem’, with its famous words by William Blake, stirs our hearts with its evocation of a new holy city built in ‘England’s green and pleasant land’. However, until now, the spiritual essence of William Blake has been buried under myriad inadequate biographies, college dissertations and arts commentaries, written by people who have missed the luminescent keys to Blake’s symbolism and liberating spirit. Any attempt to uncover the ‘real’ Blake is thwarted by his status as a legend or ‘national treasure’.
In Jerusalem Tobias Churton expertly takes you beyond this superficial façade, showing you Blake the esoteric genius – a myth-maker, brilliantly using symbols and theology to express his unique insights into the nature of body, mind and spirit. Churton is not only deeply knowledgeable about Blake’s life and times, but also uses his shared values with Blake to enter into his labyrinth of thought and feeling.
Challenging the conventional views of Blake as either a ‘romantic poet’ or a rebel with ideas about free sex, Tobias Churton’s startling new biography reveals, at last, the real William Blake in all his glory, so that anyone who sings ‘Jerusalem’ in future will see its beauty with renewed understanding.