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William Blake: The Gates of Paradise

Overview

Journey back to the 1700s to meet one of the most fascinating people in history. Dreamer, craftsman, poet, madman, and genius — William Blake. Born in 1757 in London, as a boy he apprenticed as an engraver and began a career that would include masterpieces of art.

Blake lived during times of incredible change and upheaval, including the Gordon Riots and the French Revolution. Spiritualism and the allure of magic were being replaced by a belief in rationalism. Blake celebrated ...

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Overview

Journey back to the 1700s to meet one of the most fascinating people in history. Dreamer, craftsman, poet, madman, and genius — William Blake. Born in 1757 in London, as a boy he apprenticed as an engraver and began a career that would include masterpieces of art.

Blake lived during times of incredible change and upheaval, including the Gordon Riots and the French Revolution. Spiritualism and the allure of magic were being replaced by a belief in rationalism. Blake celebrated the beauty of small things. His work showed, “…a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower….” [William Blake] Yet, with the noise and dirt of mills (factories), the Industrial Revolution was drowning out a quiet, rural way of life. The value of things made carefully by hand was being lost.

At the same time, the printing press was making it possible for more and more people to read. The rise of printed books and book illustration was revolutionary and Blake was part of it.

On the 250th anniversary of Blake’s birth, master storyteller Michael Bedard brings this Renaissance man and his times to vivid life in this biography that is lavishly illustrated with Blake’s work.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Painted Wall:
“…balanced and elegant….”
Globe and Mail

Praise for Stained Glass:
“…Bedard has established himself as a master at examining the source of creative inspiration.”
Quill & Quire

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
William Blake (1757-1827) was a visionary artist and poet out of his time—or any other time. Yet his "Visions" managed to comment brilliantly on a London and England responsible for the "mind-forged manacles" of the early Industrial Age, and his "Jerusalem" posthumously became a beloved hymn and call to arms. Michael Bedard's sympathetic and insightful biography sets the eccentric loner against the pageant of his times. Blake's dissenter religious beliefs are explained as clearly as his methods of working, so that when the artist devises his visionary method of relief etching, the beauty of the concept becomes eminently clear. It also helps that the book is filled with superbly reproduced examples of Blake's art—including endpapers in color of several of his sheets from Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience. They are so lovely that it is a shock to learn that Blake and his assistant wife, Catherine, only printed, bound, and sold twenty-five copies of the works in their lifetimes. It is not as shocking, but eminently sad, that Blake lived and died as little more than an unsung pauper. The poetic excerpts are equally well chosen and used to explicate Blake's thinking, indeed his entire universe. The end result is a very fine book strongly recommended for libraries and readers of all ages.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This is a rich biography of a man whose talents included writing poetry and prose, painting and engraving, and creating illuminated texts. Throughout the story of Blake's life and career, Bedard has artfully interwoven information about Britain's industrialization and the intricacies of engraving and early publishing techniques. It is fascinating to learn how Blake and his wife devised methods to duplicate his works using mirror writing on engraved copper plates. The subject's attitudes about the tragic impact of the Industrial Revolution on already rampant poverty come clearly into focus as do his passionate and visionary beliefs. Vivid prose enlivens the description of 18th-century London and the troubles for the underprivileged in a sharply stratified society. Blake's lifelong dedication to his art and writing and his struggles to remain true to his own beliefs, both spiritual and mundane, are highlighted. Black-and-white photos and reproductions of Blake's works appear throughout this handsome and meticulously documented volume.-Renee Steinberg, formerly at Fieldstone Middle School, Montvale, NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780887767630
  • Publisher: Tundra
  • Publication date: 9/12/2006
  • Pages: 200
  • Sales rank: 1,279,535
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 7.99 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Bedard was born and raised in Toronto. His novels include Stained Glass, A Darker Magic, Painted Devil, and Redwork, which received the Governor General’s Literary Award, and the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year Award for Children. He has also written several acclaimed picture books, including The Clay Ladies, which received the Toronto IODE Book Award. His most recent project was a collection of short stories entitled, The Painted Wall. Michael Bedard lives in Toronto.
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