If William Blake were alive and writing today, the topics that would interest him would remain very much in keeping with the topics evidenced by his work as we know it. For example, Blake’s essays and poetry exhibit a constant interest in questions of spirituality and religion; therefore, it would be expected that, were he alive today, Blake would continue to be interested in the way that humanity views itself spiritually. He might integrate modern scientific ideas, such as quantum physics and the theory of evolution, into his usual celebration of the human soul, which he frequently refers to as the “poetic character” (Greenblatt, 1788). Roughly speaking, Blake’s idea about the human soul is that perception of the human soul is not possible through the common physical senses, but is possible through emotion and psychic senses, the elements which are often associated with poetic experience.
Because Blake also associated the idea of human spirituality with contemporary politics and history, it’s likely that events such as the 9-11 terrorist attacks would have become the subject for poems and illustrations. Also likely is that modern capacity for space travel and space exploration would have captured Blake’s attention and imagination; the recent mars rover expedition, for example, would have undoubtedly fascinated Blake and would have provided ample subject-matter for a poem or series of poems. Blake’s assertion that “an universal
Poetic Genius exists” (Greenblatt, 1788) indicates that Blake would have regarded space-exploration as a dimension of the human soul. Another contemporary event or issue that might interest Blake as a poet and illustrator are the catastrophic weather-events that have recently taken place, such as hurricane Katrina, hurricane Sandy, the record-breaking heat waves, and erosion of glaciers and the polar ice caps. It’s very likely that Blake would have interpreted such events with same kind of apocalyptic and prophetic vigor that has been seen in popular movements and conspiracy theories.
Greenblatt, Stephen. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. W. W. Norton and Company. New York and London. 9th Edition, Volume 2.