William Blake by David Bindman
The Complete Illuminated Books

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Synopsis

The nature of William Blake's genius is most completely expressed in his Illuminated Books. As poet/artist Blake invented a method of printing that enabled him to create works in which words and images combine to form pages uniquely rich in content and beautiful in form. It is only through the pages as originally conceived and published by the poet himself that Blake's meaning can be fully experienced.Blake's hope that his books would obtain wide circulation was unfulfilled: some exist only in unique copies and none was printed in more than very small numbers. Now some 400 plates, drawn from The William Blake Trust's acclaimed six-volume Collected Edition, and reproduced under their supervision, provide for the first time ever in one volume what the London Review of Books hailed as "Sumptuous facsimiles . . . glorious colored pages . . . like peeping into a furnace of light through a crack in the door".
 

About David Bindman

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William Blake's poems, prophecies, and engravings represent his strong vision and voice for rebellion against orthodoxy and all forms of repression. Born in London in November 1757; his father, a hosier of limited means, could do little for the boy's education. However, when the young Blake's talent for design became apparent, his wise father sent him to drawing school at the age of 10. In 1771 Blake was apprenticed to an engraver. Blake went on to develop his own technique, a method he claimed that came to him in a vision of his deceased younger brother. In this, as in so many other areas of his life, Blake was an iconoclast; his blend of printing and engraving gave his works a unique and striking illumination. Blake joined with other young men in support of the Revolutions in France and America. He also lived his own revolt against established rules of conduct, even in his own home. One of his first acts after marrying his lifetime companion, Catherine Boucher, was to teach her to read and write, rare for a woman at that time. Blake's writings were increasingly styled after the Hebrew prophets. His engravings and poetry give form and substance to the conflicts and passions of the elemental human heart, made real as actual characters in his later work. Although he was ignored by the British literary community through most of his life, interest and study of his work has never waned. Blake's creativity and original thinking mark him as one of the earliest Romantic poets, best known for his Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) and The Tiger. Blake died in London in 1827. David Bindman lectures on the History of Art at University College, London. He is the author of many books, including "The Complete Graphic Works of William Blake".
 
Published October 1, 2000 by Thames & Hudson. 464 pages
Genres: History, Crafts, Hobbies & Home, Arts & Photography, Travel, Literature & Fiction, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Publishers Weekly is the international news website of book publishing and bookselling including business news, reviews, bestseller lists, commentaries and more.

Apr 16 2001 | Read Full Review of William Blake: The Complete I...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

Publishers Weekly is the international news website of book publishing and bookselling including business news, reviews, bestseller lists, commentaries and more.

Apr 16 2001 | Read Full Review of William Blake: The Complete I...

The New York Review of Books

Eliot wrote in 1920 that Blake betrays “a certain meanness of culture,” a philosophy like “an ingenious piece of home-made furniture.” Yet Eliot also remarked that Blake presents what is so essential that it needs no explanation: he “was naked, and saw man naked, and from the center of his own c...

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Project MUSE

In the Muggletonian song books are compositions from the 1750s by a George Hermitage, who in Thompson's working hypothesis is a possible uncle of Blake.

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