William Blake vs the World (Hardback)John Higgs (author)
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Exploring William Blake though the lens of philosophy, quantum physics, neurobiology and popular culture, John Higgs offers a deeply perceptive insight into the visionary mind of the poet and of human imagination in general.
Poet, artist, visionary and author of the unofficial English national anthem Jerusalem, William Blake is an archetypal misunderstood genius. His life passed without recognition and he worked without reward, mocked, dismissed and misinterpreted. Yet from his ignoble end in a pauper's grave, Blake now occupies a unique position as an artist who unites and attracts people from all corners of society, and a rare inclusive symbol of English identity.
Blake famously experienced visions, and it is these that shaped his attitude to politics, sex, religion, society and art. Thanks to the work of neuroscientists and psychologists, we are now in a better position to understand what was happening inside that remarkable mind, and gain a deeper appreciation of his brilliance. His timeless work, we will find, has never been more relevant.
In William Blake vs the World 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. Taking the reader on wild detours into unfamiliar territory, John Higgs places the bewildering eccentricities of a most singular artist into context. And although the journey begins with us trying to understand him, we will ultimately discover that it is Blake who helps us to understand ourselves.
Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
Number of pages: 400
Weight: 665 g
Dimensions: 236 x 152 x 40 mm
'John Higgs's book lets in a glittering stream of revelatory light ... [he] has us wrestling with flow states and default mode networks, Newtonian world views, synaesthesia and Jungian shadows. Conventional expectations are ripped to shreds. Higgs's prose has a diamond-hard clarity. He knows how to make us relate. Before long you will find you are examining yourself as much as you are examining Blake ... Fascinating' - The Times
'Rich, complex and original, Higgs takes us to places that even Blake himself might have found surprising' - Tom Holland
'John Higgs's work is always revelatory and William Blake vs the World is no different. It is a dynamic book that makes Blake vivid and relevant but which also tells us a great deal about all human imagination. The subject is not only Blake, it is ourselves' - Robin Ince
'John Higgs brings William Blake to life as a decidedly modern figure in this thoughtful and entertaining book, a timely reminder that we could all do with cracking open our minds to the mystical and visionary as a counter to our age of algorithmically-determined, bitter discourse and high-tech overload' - Luke Turner, author of Out of the Woods
'Higgs has a miraculous ability to unlock hitherto impenetrable cultural icons. He takes us on a breathtaking and joyous ride through the many wonders of Blake's creations, expertly weaving in philosophy, quantum physics and popular culture. Astounding' - Chris Atkins, author of A Bit of a Stretch
'[Higgs's] is a systematising imagination, able to harness disparate elements and find the patterns that animate them' - Melissa Harrison, The Financial Times
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