By (author) Peter Ackroyd

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 126mm x 194mm x 30mm | 381g
  • Publication date: 3 January 1998
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0749391766
  • ISBN 13: 9780749391768
  • Illustrations note: 24pp plates, b&w illustrations, b&w photographs, colour photographs
  • Sales rank: 131,642

Product description

Poet, painter, engraver and visionary, Blake's was a radical spirit fired by genius. Yet his life has remained an enigma. In this magnificent biography Peter Ackroyd discloses the true nature of William Blake's life and art.

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Author information

Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning historian, biographer, novelist, poet and broadcaster. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography and Thames: Sacred River as well as biographies of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Charles Dickens, William Blake, Wilkie Collins, Thomas More and, most recently, Charlie Chaplin. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.

Review quote

"Marvellous...deeply moving and radiant with detail... What makes Ackroyd so exceptional among biographers is the range and beauty of his knowledge.This is a book to go out and buy at once" Observer "Exhilarating...has all the hypnotic power and psychological intensity of a dream-fiction" Daily Telegraph "Glowing and engaged...will send many readers back to the poems enriched" -- John Carey Sunday Times "Taut, lucid and intelligent...will surely stand as a classic of the genre" Harpers & Queen

Editorial reviews

'A perpetual pilgrimage within time towards eternity', is how Peter Ackroyd describes the life of William Blake in this masterly biography. A genius whose apocalyptic visions started in a childhood dominated by Bible reading in a family of dissenters, William was brought up in a noisy, grimy London where the plight of the poor stirred his heart against the forces of social oppression. The French Revolution excited him; he was tried for sedition during the Napoleonic Wars. His brilliance was acknowledged by his peers; Fuseli, John Varley and Samuel Palmer were among his close friends, but he was always poor and permanently at odds with the artistic establishment led by Sir Joshua Reynolds. In a work that illuminates our understanding of Blake as poet, artist and human being, and recreates contemporary London in glittering prose, Ackroyd portrays a tender hearted visionary whose masterpieces were as neglected during his lifetime as they are celebrated today. (Kirkus UK)