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The Stranger from Paradise: A Biography of William Blake

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This fascinating and generously illustrated biography of William Blake, the great English artist, poet, and mystic, encompasses virtually everything that is known of his life and times. Often invoking the words of Blake's own contemporaries, G. E. Bentley describes the struggles of Blake's youth, his gradual embrace of the power of the spirit and visionary art and literatu ...more
Paperback, 632 pages
Published April 10th 2003 by Paul Mellon Centre BA (first published 2001)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  86 ratings  ·  11 reviews


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Mary Overton
"What [Catherine Blake] was good at was managing [the Blakes'] finances. Blake himself 'spoke of his horror of Money. Of his turning pale when money had been offerd him', and he confessed that 'I seldom carry money in my pockets': '"Were I to love money," he said, "I should lose all power of original thought; desire of gain deadens the genius of man. I might roll in wealth and ride in a golden chariot, were I to listen to the voice of parsimony. My business is not to gather gold, but to make glo ...more
Prima Seadiva
May 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I was excited to check this out I didn't even have to put a hold on it- a minor miracle at my library.
I read the first 80-100 pages, tried to read more then browsed the rest hoping I would get engaged somewhere. I found it rather disjointed and a bit turgid. While obviously massively researched (with thousands of footnotes and 50 pages of addenda), I could not get a sense of flow about the events of Blake's life. Except for an occasional paragraph neither he nor contemporaries really came to li
...more
Aria Ligi
This was a great book. I highly recommend it.
Yannis Livadas
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the second best book on Blake, after "Fearful Symmetry".
Chad
Mar 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
While comprehensive and copiously footnoted, it can be easy to get disjointed by Bentley's presentation of information and incorporation of sources. The author makes good use of quotes from Blake's contemporaries to give a great understanding of how he was perceived, but sometimes these quotes could use some more explanation, and the block quotes in particularly become almost burdensome at times, though at other times they can be immensely rewarding for the insight they give into Blake's charact ...more
Chad
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to look up a biography of Blake after I pulled his poetry off the shelf one day and realized that I couldn't understand the majority of it. Things like "Vala, or the Four" and "The Book of Urizen" had no meaning to me-- I didn't know all these proper nouns. Perhaps a biography would help.
And it did. I learned that Blake grew up a Dissenter, a group opposed to the dominant Anglican church and that viewed the world as under the influence of the Beast and the Great Whore as pictured in t
...more
James
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any Blake reader.
Excellent, readable, and very well documented biography of William Blake from one of the top Blake critics alive today. Main criticisms I've heard are that it doesn't rely enough on original archival research and is too close to being a narrative version of Blake Records. However, this work is so well researched that archival research would be a supplement to an already dense structure. Does a good job of focusing on Blake's life and reading the poems within it rather than descending into explic ...more
Jeff
Jul 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
At times it is difficult to catch sight of Blake himself through the sheer fog of perspectives Bentley discloses. It is astounding the number of voices he puts forward to testify to Blake's life; it would be nice to have a little more of Blake's own voice. That said, the book was thorough and enlightening.
Mark
Feb 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Blake will never die he brought to light what most would never say or do.
joshuA
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookmarked
Bookmarked at page 273.
James Prothero
a very detailed and well written, and scholarly biography
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