Iain Finlayson on Blake’s London: The Topographic Sublime by Iain Sinclair
Nobody perceives the city like Sinclair: the Gothic, the grotesque, the Grand Guignol, all are grist to the mill of his mind as the leading “psychogeographer” of London and its purlieus. But he has had predecessors, notably poets, and most famously the the visionary William Blake of Lambeth. This elegant little book, demurely jacketed in grey, is the text of a lecture given to the Swedenborg Society by Sinclair, in which he adds his own discursive voice to the poetic charivari, a discordant serenade to London. As a response to Blake, it is performed by the peasant poet John Clare and by a passing shadow of Rimbaud. On Primrose Hill, also communing with Blake, is the poet Allen Ginsberg, sharing notebooks with the antic poet Harry Fainlight. This prismatic vision of London through Blake’s inspiration is dazzling.
Blake’s London: The Topographic Sublime by Iain Sinclair (The Swedenborg Society; 60 pp; £5.95)