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Book of Job

Tennyson and Blake

Title-page of William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job (1826) (TRC / AT / 538)

Title-page of William Blake’s Illustrations of the Book of Job (1826) (TRC / AT / 538)

by Dr Sibylle Erle with Grace Timmins

Sibylle Erle is Senior Lecturer in English at Bishop Grosseteste University Lincoln. She teaches mainly eighteenth and nineteenth literature and researches into text/image relationships, Anglo-German relations and problems of representation. She authored Blake, Lavater and Physiognomy (Legenda, 2010) and co-curated the display “Blake and Physiognomy” (2010-11) at Tate Britain. She is now co-editing The Reception of William Blake in Europe (Bloomsbury) with Morton D. Paley and working on ‘Character’ in the Romantic period.

Alfred Tennyson’s copy of William Blake’s superb Illustrations of the Book of Job lay for years quietly unnoticed among his many editions of New and Old Testaments in the Tennyson Research Centre, Lincoln.  In c1860 it had pride of place on the table in the middle of Tennyson’s Drawing Room in his home, Farringford, on the Isle of Wight.

“The Book of Job…is of the highest rank in certain characters of imagination and expression; …In expressing conditions of glaring and flickering light, Blake is greater than Rembrandt.  Ruskin (The Elements of Drawing, 1857)

“The engravings are the best Blake ever did: vigorous, decisive…”  Gilchrist (Life, 1863)


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Last updated: 14 March 2013

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