Gilchrist on Blake: The Life of William Blake by Alexander Gilchrist (Flamingo Classic Biographies)

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9780007111718: Gilchrist on Blake: The Life of William Blake by Alexander Gilchrist (Flamingo Classic Biographies)

LIVES THAT NEVER GROW OLD

Part of a radical new series – edited by Richard Holmes – that recovers the great classical tradition of English biography. Gilchrist’s ‘The Life of William Blake’ is a biographical masterpiece, still thrilling to read and vividly alive.

This was the first biography of William Blake ever written, at a time when the great visionary poet and painter was generally forgotten, ridiculed or dismissed as insane. Wonderfully vivid and outspoken (one chapter is entitled ‘Mad or Not Mad’), it was based on revealing interviews with many of Blake’s surviving friends.

Blake conversed with spirits, saw angels in trees, and sunbathed naked with his wife ‘like Adam and Eve’. Gilchrist adds detailed descriptions of Blake’s beliefs and working methods, an account of his trial for high treason and fascinating evocations of the places in London, Kent and Sussex where he lived. The book ultimately transformed and enhanced Blake’s reputation.

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Review:

'...brilliant introduction by Holmes...taken together these books provide a valuable insight into the way biography has evolved...' -- Times Literary Supplement

'no other Blake biography gives such a powerful impression of this irascible genius' -- The Guardian

About the Author:

Richard Holmes is our greatest living biographer. His biography of Shelley won the Somerset Maugham Prize. ‘Footsteps’ (1985) revolutionised the way biography was thought about and written. The first part of his biography of Coleridge won the 1989 Whitbread Book of the Year Prize. ‘Dr Johnson and Mr Savage’ won the James Tait Black Prize. The concluding volume of his Coleridge biography won the Duff Cooper Prize and the William Heinemann award. He is a Fellow of the Royal Academy.

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