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date: 16 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This essay explores a body of work that reacted against the socio-economic deprivations and neo-liberal ethos of Britain from the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s. During those decades, the Conservative prime minister, Mrs Thatcher, became an object of admiration and a hate figure, a perverse source of poetic inspiration, while the visionary writings of William Blake proved a powerful resource for writers looking to counter the orthodoxies of the moment and bring out its contraries. London matters because, as the seat of government and the stock exchange, archive of Albion, matrix of myths, urban jungle, it came to exemplify the new, deregulated dispensation, set against the achievements of the past. Discussion focuses on four very different poets—Iain Sinclair, Allen Fisher, Peter Reading, and Geoffrey Hill—who wrote about London in the shadow of Blake as a way of addressing the condition of England.

Keywords: London, Blake, Thatcher, poetry, visionary, psychogeography, politics

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