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Lost Illusions
Balzac, Honore de
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Ackroyd, Peter - Blake - ( Item 123707 )

Published in London by Folio Society. 2008. First Thus. Fine Hardback. No inscriptions or bookplates. Near Fine slipcase. Slight marks to panels of slipcase. Bound in buckram, printed and blocked with a detail from William Blake's 'The Divine Image', with hand-lettering by Stephen Raw. Frontispiece and 24 pages of colour and black & white plates. 9 ins x 6 ins, 472 pages. 'In the visionary imagination of William Blake there is no birth and no death, no beginning and no end, only the perpetual pilgrimage within time towards eternity.' In his life of William Blake poet, painter, engraver and visionary Peter Ackroyd proves himself the definitive biographer of 'the last great religious poet in England'. From Blake's birth in 1757 above his father's hosier shop in Soho to his deathbed, 'singing of the things he saw in Heaven', is life was an extraordinary journey towards spiritual and artistic revelation. As a young, solitary boy with a 'flat and pugnacious face', he walked the streets for hours on end, finding the inspiration for his future artistic vision. Ackroyd explores the influence that both contemporary and past artists had on Blake, those he admired and those he disdained. He reveals Blake's rigorous artistic education, including seven years as an apprentice engraver and acceptance to the prestigious Royal Academy schools. While Blake's interest in spiritualism first in Swedenborg and later Boehme and Paracelsus is central to his work, Ackroyd also shows how contemporary events, from the Gordon Riots to the French Revolution, caught Blake's imagination. Far from being an unworldly, mystical eccentric, the Blake presented by Ackroyd was a diligent, intelligent, opinionated artisan who spent his life on a philosophical quest, embodied in his art and poetry. London, a city that Ackroyd knows as intimately as Blake himself, is integral to the story. Blake pulses with the colour, squalor and radicalism of the capital and reveals its influence on Blake's art: every time he walked from his home in Lambeth into the City, he passed the burnt-out shell of Albion Mills, the embodiment of Jerusalem's 'dark satanic mills'. Luminous and lyrical, this is a truly fitting biography for one of the most intriguing creative figures in history.

Price 22.85                 Other items you may like                 Others by the same author

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