The book was issued in 1793 as For Children: The Gates of Paradise by William Blake. It was reissued with a number of alterations and additions in 1818 with a new title, For the Sexes: The Gates of Paradise. In it, we see that last is first and first is last. This book of life and wonders is about the present, where all things are. You just need to know where to look for them.
Blake saw things. As a child he saw a shining tree of angels and figures at his bedroom window. In later years, the old prophets and the painter Raphael came to him.
So when in 1787 he began to draw what would become 64 images, and 17 etched seventeen onto copper plates, he could peer through the veils of perception. The book is influenced further by “emblem literature”, sixteenth and seventeenth century books that connect an allegorical symbol to an epigram or motto.
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