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The Life of William Blake (1907)
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Despite the flow of books on William Blake, this first full-length life biography published in 1863 remains essential to those who would understand one of the greatest of Englishmen, for the author, Alexander Gilchrist, had one advantage which has been denied to his successors - he could still find people who had known Blake. These personal reminiscences give the book an actuality which few of the later ones have touched. The second and best edition of Gilchrist's biography, upon which this edition is based, originally appeared in 1880, and has long been out of print and obtainable only at a price which placed it out of the reach of the general reader and ordinary student. Modern research, which has done so much to throw light on certain aspects of the life of William Blake, has also shown that Gilchrist was sometimes in error in the facts he recorded. These have now been corrected and, for the benefit of the student, the editor has supplied a section of notes amplifying the text (including some information not previously published) which should also act as a guide to those who wish to proceed further. The many quotations have been brought into line with the standard text of Blake's writings edited by Mr. Geoffrey Keynes, and the book is illustrated with Blake's woodcuts to Virgil, executed in 1821, which are generally accounted among his finest works. Altogether this new edition of the standard Life of Blake should prove a fitting testament to the great man and his work.
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