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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 January 2007, 15:16 GMT
Blake's notebook goes on display
Blake used the notebook for more than 30 years

Poet William Blake's notebook, in which he drafted such classics as London and The Tyger, has gone on display at the British Library in London.

A digital version of the book, full of sketches and dense passages of poetry, has also been made available online.

The exhibition, marking the 250th anniversary of Blake's birth, also contains modern works he inspired.

Among them is Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass, whose main character Lyra gets her name from a Blake poem

Pullman has loaned the Library a portion of his manuscript for the exhibition and has recorded a reading of both his work and the poem that inspired it.

US rock star Patti Smith is also taking part in the retrospective by donating the manuscript of her song My Blakean Year.

A page from The First Book of Urizen
Blake's illustrated manuscripts were largely disregarded in his lifetime
Born in London in 1757, Blake is regarded as one of the greatest contributors to English literature and art.

He wrote the words to the popular hymn Jerusalem and produced illustrated versions of Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Divine Comedy.

In 2003, 19 watercolours painted by Blake - and believed to have been lost - sold for 5m at auction.

A British Library statement said: "The achievements of William Blake were largely unrecognised in his own lifetime, but his creative legacy lives on.

"This exhibition showcases Blake's astonishing creativity and his contribution to the work of contemporary artists and writers 250 years later."

William Blake: Under The Influence opened at the British Library on Thursday and runs until March.

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