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  • William Blake vs the World

  • By: John Higgs
  • Narrated by: John Higgs
  • Length: 11 hrs and 12 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (195 ratings)

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William Blake vs the World cover art

William Blake vs the World

By: John Higgs
Narrated by: John Higgs
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Summary

Poet, artist, visionary and author of the unofficial English national anthem 'Jerusalem', William Blake is an archetypal misunderstood genius. In this radical new biography, we return to a world of riots, revolutions and radicals, discuss movements from the Levellers of the sixteenth century to the psychedelic counterculture of the 1960s, and explore the latest discoveries in neurobiology, quantum physics and comparative religion to look afresh at Blake's life and work—and, crucially, his mind. Taking the listener on wild detours into unfamiliar territory, John Higgs places the bewildering eccentricities of a most singular artist into context and shows us how Blake can help us better understand ourselves.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2021 John Higgs (P)2021 Orion Publishing Group

Critic reviews

"A glittering stream of revelatory light.... Fascinating." (The Times)

"One of the best books on Blake I have ever read." (David Keenan)

"Absolutely wonderful!" (Terry Gilliam)

What listeners say about William Blake vs the World

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Dive headfirst into the Blakean mythos

Started off a bit of a struggle, but when I got used to his style I was fully immersed. Really interesting disection of Blake's worldview.

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1 person found this helpful

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Divine

Truly glorious - Quantum physics to heaven and everywhere in between (and all at once). An incredible look at Blake, his influences, contemporaries, times and influence - but also so much more. I am.astounded by how easy and enjoyable a listen this is given the wealth of information and potentially life changing perspectives within.

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1 person found this helpful

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lovely and inspiring

I feel sad that this book is finished. Blake has been a companion on my daily walks for a few weeks and the author's gentle voice added to the pleasure

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    4 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking & wonderfully read by the author

I won't pretend to be smart enough to critique the central theories and arguments - and I dare say both those nouns aren't quite right - but the elements of biography and historical context add much to make this genuinely enjoyable.

The author's reading is also superb. Whether he'd rehearsed to within an inch of his life, been rigorous in doing multiple takes or maybe he's just a genius, his explanations are absolutely crystal clear. His splendid accent is hard to place though, Cheshire maybe?

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Always felt an affinity for Blake. Now I know why

This is a wonderful book - a must read for any Blake fan.

Since my days as an Art student, I've always felt a strong affinity for Blake (especially his paintings) - but his writings, rendered in terms of a personal mythology, made them annoyingly incomprehensible, even to his contemporary readers. What is needed is a key to unlock the astonishing originality of Blake's expansive mind. John Higgs provides us with that key.
More than simply explaining the biographical details of William Blake's life (illustrated by numerous eye witness testimonies), John Higgs manages, with great skill, to map the mind of this extraordinary man and shows him to be a great soul - a true colossus of original thought .

The gently lilting narration is a pleasure to listen to: the wide ranging ideas expressed are truly profound.

Blake's championing of the limitless power of the imagination against the stultifying limits of fundamentalist materialism is an important message for today's world. I wish you Bon Appetit with Blake vs the World.

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Yet another great book from Mr Higgs!

I’m loving John Higgs’ books, they’re so well read and really make you think. I can’t wait for the next one.
I really didn’t know even half of this stuff about Blake and it resonates still just as importantly.

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Challenging and insightful

This was a challenging, covering and linking areas as diverse as quantum physics and the difference between fantasy and imagination. I often listen to an audio book while doing the ironing or other jobs that do not require concentration, but I found it too hard even for accompanying the washing up! The ideas are vast and insightful and it takes full attention, but is well worth the effort. Beautifully written, it makes many fascinating connections. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even though it took weeks to get through! Thank you John Higgs x

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Erudite, Insightful, Engaging

John Higgs somehow manages to engage at a deep level with Blake's often difficult work and at the same time reads with wonderful simplicity. He weaves in relevant contemporary thought without being anachronistic, in an entertaining and sympathetic journey through Blake's life and work. Wonderful!

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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting and engaging

It may be that there is not much that actually exists in historical biography of Blake, little celebrated as he was in life. This book is unafraid to scour across time in drawing comparisons to the themes of his work and his philosophy and it’s much richer for it. A really enjoyable and enlighten listen, especially, somewhat obviously, for anyone who is a fan of, or interested in Blake . Beautifully read 

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An Exceptionial Artist - A Wonderful Exposition

Loved this book and the reading. It view and explanation of Blake's life and ideas are set out with wonderful clarity. Thank you Mr. Higgs!

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6 people found this helpful