Read Songs of Innocence and of Experience by William Blake Free Online
Book Title: Songs of Innocence and of Experience|
The author of the book: William Blake
Edition: Huntington Library Press
Date of issue: November 5th 2008
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 515 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.6
ISBN 13: 9780873282369
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Songs of Innocence and of Experience are Blake's most familiar poems. A few examples, such as "The Tyger" and "The Chimney Sweeper," frequently appear in anthologies of English literature, in which the poems are often printed without Blake's evocative engravings. But Blake made collections of his Songs, first the Innocence group alone in 1789, and then Experience in 1794, combining the two in that year to make up a single volume.
This facsimile edition is based on a unique copy in the collection of the Huntington Library that shows how Blake used coloring style and pen and ink additions to make a unified book out of fifty-four individual engravings. Based on new digital photography, this edition also captures the designs and coloring as closely as possible. The plates are followed by a transcription of the poems.
Robert N. Essick's commentary includes a brief biography of Blake and interprets each poem in dialogue with the other Songs. Essick also explores the political and historical contexts of the poems. Newcomers to Blake will find a thorough grounding in his unusual art and language, while experts will encounter fresh discoveries.
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Read information about the authorWilliam Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake's work is today considered seminal and significant in the history of both poetry and the visual arts.
Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced." Although he only once travelled any further than a day's walk outside London over the course of his life, his creative vision engendered a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced 'imagination' as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself".
Once considered mad for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is highly regarded today for his expressiveness and creativity, and the philosophical and mystical currents that underlie his work. His work has been characterized as part of the Romantic movement, or even "Pre-Romantic", for its largely having appeared in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the established Church, Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions, as well as by such thinkers as Emanuel Swedenborg.
Despite these known influences, the originality and singularity of Blake's work make it difficult to classify. One 19th century scholar characterised Blake as a "glorious luminary", "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors."
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