The Journal of The Blake Society
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VALA is a free online publication that celebrates William Blake’s art and legacy in exciting new ways. While the content of VALA is academically informed, this journal is not peer-reviewed but thoroughly edited and the result of many conversations between its contributors and its editorial team. VALA is committed to academic rigour and driven by the creative impulse to produce something that makes Blake relevant to the now and the everyday – in a magazine style.

VALA includes articles that showcase art and artists influenced by Blake; it spotlights particular works by Blake, examines politics, arts, literature, religions, music and the environment and shares responses to art, life and teaching inspired by Blake. VALA is not afraid to ask the big questions and our hope is that each issue will generate many inspiring answers that will reach beyond ‘the pages’ as well as the overarching theme. VALA is a hybrid; it exists online as well as on paper. 

VALA – What does the word mean?

Vala is the name of Blake’s great unpublished work. Vala is also a character in Blake’s mythology.  She is restless and difficult to pinpoint and gets almost immediately pushed into the background of Blake’s story about the fall and resurrection of Albion. Hence, Vala is referred to as the shadowy female and is a liminal, dark but potentially alluring force to be reckoned with. She represents what is fallen about ‘man’. She is also a stand-in for Nature in Blake’s complicated world of symbols and carefully layered and only gradually emerging mechanisms of meaning.

Each issue of the annual magazine is loosely built around a subject. Issue 1 is themed around Children and Lockdown, issue 2 focuses on concepts of Gender and (Invisible) Female Bodies and Issue 3 explores Blake and Nature. Issue 4 tackles the topic of ‘War and Peace’ in order to yet again engage with a topic of global reach.

The theme for VALA issue 5 will be ‘God’, and attitudes towards religion from a Blakean angle and at the interface of art, religion and science. If you would like to contribute to a future issue of VALA please write to us to share your idea (academic, creative, popular) and output (original art, original writing) so that we can advise on suitability and length. Please read more details of our submissions process here. In exceptional cases we will invite longer pieces. The Committee of The Blake Society acts as Editorial Board. We also offer the opportunity to contribute shorter pieces to our Emanations blog.

Our intent is to publish each new issue of VALA as a digital download on the anniversary of Blake’s birth,
28 November, and to publish a printed version for Members soon after.

Sibylle Erle – Editor
John Riordan – Art Director
Jason Whittaker – Managing Editor

Please email for further information

If you are not a Member of the Society please consider making a donation for the digital Journal. (The Journal is best viewed using Acrobat Reader that can be downloaded for free from Acrobat.) Members receive a free printed copy of the latest issue. Non-members can buy printed copies here.

Click on the image to download VALA 4

Click on the image to download VALA 3

Click on the image to download VALA 2

Click on the image to download VALA 1