Sarah's Stars

Michael Bedard.  William Blake: The Gates of Paradise
Tundra Books  $28.99  ISBN  0-88776-736-X  192 pg.
Reviewed by Sarah, Age 16

Said I, this sure is odd.
I took to be the Throne of God.
For every Thing besides I have:
It is only for Riches that I can crave.

I have Mental Joy and Mental Health
And Mental Friends & Mental Wealth;
Iíve a Wife I love & that loves me;
Iíve all But riches Bodily.

William Blake was a man of vision, a poet, an artist and an engraver by trade.  This book is the story of his life; from the time and place he was born, to when and where he fell in love, and how he died.  Every detail has been included, as well as the correspondences between Blake and his companions and wife, pictures of his works and pieces of poetry.  Like so many artists, Blake barely scraped by during his lifetime and was ridiculed by the popular artists and cliques of the era.  Blake, however, stood up to the test better than most.  He always believed in the visions he had, and was extremely dedicated when it came to God.  He and his wife, Catherine, lived a difficult and strenuous but happy life.

I think that William Blake:The Gates of Paradise would be an excellent book to use to research William Blake.  Personally, I wouldnít use it as light reading material on my own time, but it is full of information and interesting facts.  The layout is well done and really draws attention to each part.  Michael Bedard has obviously put a great deal of work into creating this biography.  Williamís life has been recorded in its entirety, including the detail of the correspondences between his companions regarding William.  I think that Michael Bedard did a remarkable job.  The many obscure facts make reading about Blakeís life so much more interesting.

The Gates of Paradise deserves five stars.  It took me a while to get into it, but by the end I was soaking up every word.  It is extremely well written, well put together and is an outstanding resource on William Blake.


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