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Michael Phillips is an internationally recognized William Blake scholar and academic. He was born to Paul Curtis Phillips and Louise Phillips in New York City and grew up in Southern California.
Phillips obtained a BA in English from Loyola University, Los Angeles, in 1963, and, in 1968, earned a PhD from Exeter; his thesis was titled The Poetical Sketches of William Blake. He also has a BPhil in Modern English Studies from Oxford.
Phillips was influenced by his friendships with Shakespearian scholar G. Wilson Knight and prominent Blake scholar Sir Geoffrey Keynes and his work on William Blake became increasingly interdisciplinary over the course of his career. He trained in printmaking techniques at the Edinburgh College of Art and became a member of the professional Edinburgh Printmakers Workshop, where he began successfully replicating Blake’s “illuminated printing” technique in studio. This printmaking training informed Phillips’ numerous publications, especially his book William Blake: The Creation of the Songs: From Manuscript to Illuminated Printing, 2000.
Phillips has taught at Oxford, University College London, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of York. He has also lectured and given Blake printmaking demonstrations internationally, including at Victoria University, University of Toronto, in 2012.
In addition, Phillips has been guest curator of William Blake exhibitions at Tate Britain and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Petit Palais in Paris, and, currently, for the Ashmolean Museum at the University of Oxford.
His work has been recognized with awards from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Yale Centre for British Art, British Library Centre for the Book, a British Academy Research Readership in the Humanities, Waynflete Lectureship, Magdalen College, Oxford, and the Medal of the Collège de France.