My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having known nothing of Blake other than the obvious, Jerusalem, and having a book of his amazing art I wished to know a lot more. I really enjoyed Peter Ackroyd’s programme on London a few years ago so knew I would be in safe hands with him. I must confess the book has sat on my shelf for a few years asI was slightly deterred by the huge volume but I am very pleased that I bit the bullet and gave it a go.
It soon becomes apparent that Blake did not only reside in the world of mere mortals but also conversed quite happily with the dearly departed. He did not hide this notion from the world, in fact he made it plainly known that he rather preferred to reside in this alternative state, though one can little wonder at this, as the world he did reside in paid him little attention and thought very little of his work during his lifetime, I can never understand this with great geniuses, who are just too advanced for those about them, and how conceited we are that we judge other people’s works as a thing of madness just because we don’t understand them.
Ackroyd goes into great detail of the time and places in which Blake lived, it is very sad to read about the poverty he and his wife had to endure. but all through his life even in times of great sorrow he comes across as a wise joyous soul, though to friends who let him down he can be hugely cutting.
If you want to know what made this great man tick, and inspire his work, then this is the book for you. Next stop will be to check out his work in reality at the Tate Britain next week.