One of the greatest Victorian-era biographies, Alexander Gilchrist's The Life of William Blake plays a key role in the history of Blake's work and its influence on other writers and artists. The first standard text on Blake and a cornerstone of the extensive scholarship on his life and work, it not only delivered its subject from unjust obscurity but also dispelled the notion of Blake's insanity and established his genius as a visionary artist and poet. Sensitive, highly readable accounts trace Blake's childhood and years as an engraver's apprentice, his relations with patrons and employers, his trial for treason, and his declining health and untimely death. The author's wide-ranging research includes interviews with many of Blake's surviving friends, whose personal recollections add warmth and immediacy to this portrait. Extensive quotes from the subject's poetry and prose — practically unknown at the time of the original 1863 publication — further enliven the text. In addition to a critical commentary on Blake's boyhood poems, this transformative biography features more than 40 of his illustrations.