Friday, January 24, 2014

Naked Blakes

I'm always reading about 10 books at once. Then, bit by bit, one book will take over, and I'll finish it before I head back to grazing on the others.
William Blake

The book that's just taken over is Blake: A Biography by Peter Ackroyd. It's a simply marvelous biography of the great English author and artist. I've known Blake since childhood because he was a favorite of my Father's. I've always known Blake was eccentric, but I didn't realize how delightfully so.

Once, a friend dropped by Blake's house and found the poet and his wife sitting in the garden behind their home completely naked and reading Paradise Lost out loud.

"Come in," Blake said happily to his visitor. "It is only Adam and Eve, you know!" Ackroyd goes on: "Husband and wife had been reciting passages from Paradise Lost, in character, and the garden . . . had to represent the Garden of Eden . . . ."

No one who has read much of Blake's work could be much surprised. But it's still a joy to know there are people in the world who refuse to follow the rules.

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