Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2006
'Professor John Beer's new book combines illuminating and fresh discussions of Blake's life and work with astute commentary on the visual materials. Tracing Blake's religious background from early childhood onwards, Beer presents a clear and highly readable account of the spiritual richness and complexity of his mature poetry. We also learn a lot about the world of fellow-artists, patrons and publishers in which Blake moved, including surprising glimpses of the visionary poet's forthright business dealings. Towards the end of the book Beer musters a moving series of contemporaries' impressions of Blake, some of which will be new to readers.' - Professor Deirdre Coleman, University of Sydney, Australia
'A continual source of stimulus...Beer conveys readable information about Blake's life, retelling some famous and less well-known anecdotes with a quiet power...he carries his immense and up-to-date scholarship lightly.. a fine book.' - Times Literary Supplement
'...Beer shows himself to be among the most astute readers of Blake's poetry...Part of a biographer's task is to get the reader to know his or her subject as a person and not merely as a poet or an artist or an historical figure. This John Beer had done admirably.' - Morton D. Paley, The Wordsworth Circle
John Beer is Emeritus Professor of English Literature, University of Cambridge and Fellow of Peterhouse. His work on Romanticism includes Coleridge the Visionary, Coleridge's Poetic Intelligence, Blake's Humanism, Blake's Visionary Universe, Wordsworth and the Human Heart, Wordsworth in Time, Questioning Romanticism (ed.), Romantic Influences and Providence and Love. He has edited Coleridge's Poems for Everyman's Library, his Aids to Reflection for the Collected Works and is General Editor of the series Coleridge's Writings.