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Other Sorrows, Other Joys

The Marriage of Catherine Sophia Boucher and William Blake

Janet Warner

St. Martin's Press

This is the imagined life of a woman who really lived in the late Eighteenth Century - Catherine Sophia Boucher, called Kate - wife of the English poet and artist, William Blake. If you read between the lines of his poetry and letters, this is a story you might find. Other Sorrows, Other Joys weaves fact and fiction to tell the story of Kate's search for identity in the shadow of a man who can "see a World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wild Flower." Conventional, innocent Kate struggles to understand the world around her in the midst of her visionary husband's free-thinking crusades for freedom in religion, in politics, in love. Janet Warner's original novel dramatically recreates the story of a poet and his spiritual companion and the mystic visions that haunt them both throughout their lives.

As Kate works as Blake's assistant, printing and coloring his designs, she witnesses the psychic powers that distract William from earning a living. She endures the loss of a long-awaited child, Blake's fascination for gifted women, and his frightening trial for treason. Through Kate's eyes, we meet a parade of people prominent in 18th Century artistic circles during the time of the French Revolution, such as the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Swiss painter Henry Fuseli, and the publisher Joseph Johnson - people whose intertwined lives were as unconventional as any Bohemians of a later time. Amidst these turbulent personal and political events, Warner reveals the compelling drama of Kate and William's marriage that survived it all.

This is the imagined life of a woman who really lived in the late Eighteenth Century - Catherine Sophia Boucher, called Kate - wife of the English poet and artist, William Blake. If you read between the lines of his poetry and letters, this is a story you might find. Other Sorrows, Other Joys weaves fact and fiction to tell the story of Kate's search for identity in the shadow of a man who can "see a World in a Grain of Sand and Heaven in a Wild Flower." Conventional, innocent Kate struggles to understand the world around her in the midst of her visionary husband's free-thinking crusades for freedom in religion, in politics, in love. Janet Warner's original novel dramatically recreates the story of a poet and his spiritual companion and the mystic visions that haunt them both throughout their lives.

As Kate works as Blake's assistant, printing and coloring his designs, she witnesses the psychic powers that distract William from earning a living. She endures the loss of a long-awaited child, Blake's fascination for gifted women, and his frightening trial for treason. Through Kate's eyes, we meet a parade of people prominent in 18th Century artistic circles during the time of the French Revolution, such as the feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, Swiss painter Henry Fuseli, and the publisher Joseph Johnson - people whose intertwined lives were as unconventional as any Bohemians of a later time. Amidst these turbulent personal and political events, Warner reveals the compelling drama of Kate and William's marriage that survived it all.

REVIEWS

Praise for Other Sorrows, Other Joys

Praise for Other Sorrows, Other Joys

"An absolutely charming novel about William Blake's supposedly meek and ignorant wife, Catherine Sophia Boucher. In her book, Janet Warner reveals a complex and thoroughly engrossing life full of secrets, visions, reason, joy, wise women, angels, Satan as Energy, visiting spirits, Jimsonweed, a man-midwife, mesmerism, Beulah (that state of inspiration), and all the wonderful historical figures of Blake's circle, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Henry Fuseli, Joseph Johnson. Warner, using a kind of guileless prose mirroring her heroine's station in life, manages to convey the extraordinary in a most disarming manner. The unsuspecting reader is drawn into a swirl of emotion, ideas, and the great pleasure of a very good read."
--Frances Sherwood, author of The Book of Splendor, Green, and Vindication

"Other Sorrows, Other Joys brings to life what often gets lost in the interstices of biography: the collaborators who have lived in the shadow of their brilliant and visionary partners. Janet Warner's excavation, quiet yet transcendental, mirrors Blake's art and takes us on a meditative journey. It's a joy to read."
--Alev Lytle Croutier, author of Seven Houses

"Janet Warner has a gift for the telling fictional detail. Even when she invents dialogue for William Blake, her inventions are persuasively in character. Other Sorrows, Other Joys will be read with pleasure and profit by anyone interested in William Blake, in the life of the spirit, and in the wife of a strange genius."
--G. E. Bentley, author of The Stranger from Paradise: A Biography of William Blake
Praise for Other Sorrows, Other Joys

"An absolutely charming novel about William Blake's supposedly meek and ignorant wife, Catherine Sophia Boucher. In her book, Janet Warner reveals a complex and thoroughly engrossing life full of secrets, visions, reason, joy, wise women, angels, Satan as Energy, visiting spirits, Jimsonweed, a man-midwife, mesmerism, Beulah (that state of inspiration), and all the wonderful historical figures of Blake's circle, including Mary Wollstonecraft, Henry Fuseli, Joseph Johnson. Warner, using a kind of guileless prose mirroring her heroine's station in life, manages to convey the extraordinary in a most disarming manner. The unsuspecting reader is drawn into a swirl of emotion, ideas, and the great pleasure of a very good read."
--Frances Sherwood, author of The Book of Splendor, Green, and Vindication

"Other Sorrows, Other Joys brings to life what often gets lost in the interstices of biography: the collaborators who have lived in the shadow of their brilliant and visionary partners. Janet Warner's excavation, quiet yet transcendental, mirrors Blake's art and takes us on a meditative journey. It's a joy to read."
--Alev Lytle Croutier, author of Seven Houses

"Janet Warner has a gift for the telling fictional detail. Even when she invents dialogue for William Blake, her inventions are persuasively in character. Other Sorrows, Other Joys will be read with pleasure and profit by anyone interested in William Blake, in the life of the spirit, and in the wife of a strange genius."
--G. E. Bentley, author of The Stranger from Paradise: A Biography of William Blake

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Janet Warner

  • Janet Warner, formerly a professor at Glendon College, York University, is the author of Blake and the Language of Art. She lives near Vancouver, Canada.
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Available Formats and Book Details

Other Sorrows, Other Joys

The Marriage of Catherine Sophia Boucher and William Blake

Janet Warner

  • e-Book

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Press

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