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The 10 Rarest Books in the World

By Becky Ferreira Apr 26, 2013

4 of 11

The Book of Urizen

William Blake was one of history's greatest weirdos. His contemporaries thought he was out of his mind: little did they know he would one day be hailed as one of the greatest poets of the English language. He wrote books with grand philosophical themes personified as angels, monsters, and folkloric characters, and illustrated his work with detailed relief etchings. The Book of Urizen is one of his most prophetic books, a mythic adventure about the perils of alienated reason. Only 8 complete copies of it survive, one of which was sold for $2.5 million in 1999. Fun fact: William Blake and his wife Catherine cared so little about social conventions of their time that they often worked naked in their backyard, not even getting dressed for company. What awesome proto-hippies they were.

Tags: shakespeare, books, slideshows, collections, books-and-comics, antiques

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.

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