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Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1789)

by William Blake

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,121262,962 (4.16)64
The core of William Blake's vision, his greatness as one of the British Romantics, is most fully expressed in his Illuminated Books, masterworks of art and text intertwined and mutually enriching. In 1949 the William Blake Trust was founded to bring these rare, in some cases unique, works to a wider general audience through the publication of superbly produced facsimiles of each book. By the late 1980's these facsimiles had themselves become rare books. The Trust accordingly resolved to initiate a collected edition that would publish accurate reproductions of all the Illuminated Books to be accompanied by notes and commentaries by leading Blake scholars. Songs of Innocence and of Experience, one of the best known of the books, is now reproduced in paperback for the first time from the King's College, Cambridge copy--sometimes known as "Blake's own copy." The poems have been edited with introduction, notes, commentaries, and bibliography.… (more)



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Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Well, one lousy review can't do Blake's poems any justice, not unless you're flush with time and the soul of a poet, yourself. :)

I can say, however, that the title kinda gives the whole gig away. :) The first section is rife with allusions to Jesus and the second is full of wry and rather sarcastic religious revolutionary insights that I *clearly* appreciate much more than the innocent ones. :)

Yes, love should be shown! No, life should not be this dreary and repressed thing. :)

I particularly love how Blake uses limited PoV narrations, from a little child or an old bard. The mirroring of both characters and themes really does a big number on both types of poetry. I only wish I was reading it with the engravings. :)

Such classics! Well worth the Experience. Everyone should Experience it. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Visionary and prophet; he saw angels in trees, but wisely acknowledged they were in his own head. I remember at choir practice a few years ago, a young man rubbishing the words of “Jerusalem”: “And did those feet in ancient time walk upon England’s mountains green? Obviously not!” Ah, but there is poetic truth, the mythos, and logical everyday truth, the logos. Blake is referring to an old legend, and inviting us to ponder how we might behave if this were true. But you could argue for ever with these commonsensical folk who call a spade a spade and see no further than the end of their own noses. What can you do with a guy who looks at his mobile phone all through the intercessions…. Favourites are: “Night”, “Eternity”, "Mock on, mock on" and “Auguries of Innocence”. We still need Blake to remind us of how we should treat creation.
  PollyMoore3 | May 14, 2020 |
Merecidamente, um dos 110 Melhores Livros: A Biblioteca Perfeita escolhidos em 2008 pelo jornal britânico Daily Telegraph. O livro de Blake (de 1794) contrapõe o mundo inocente e pastoral da infância a um mundo adulto de corrupção e repressão. Enquanto poemas como "O Cordeiro" representam a virtude da humildade, poemas como "The Tyger" expõem a oposição de forças as mais soturnas. A coleção, como um todo, explora os valores e limitações de duas diferentes perspectivas sobre o mundo. Muitos dos poemas vêm em pares, de modo que a mesma situação ou problema é vista através da lente primária da inocência e secundária da experiência. Blake não se identifica totalmente com esta ou aquela opinião. Sua visão reside além da inocência e da experiência, em uma posição distante da que ele conta reconhecer, e em tese corrigiu as falácias de ambas. Em particular, ele coloca-se contra a autoridade despótica, a moralidade restritiva, a repressão sexual e a religião institucionalizada. Sua percepção maior consiste em denunciar a forma como tais modos de controle separados trabalham, em conjunto, para reprimir o que há de mais sagrado nos seres humanos. Em tempo, registre-se a transdução espacializada - chamemo-la assim - de Augusto de Campos para "O Tigre". ( )
  jgcorrea | Dec 25, 2018 |
First of all, I would like to state in my defense that I picked up this slim volume days before I started freaking out about getting to 50 books by any means necessary. Ever since I catalogued my poetry shelf, I've been making an effort to get more of it read. Plus, in the story currently in my head, I'm a teacher, leading a unit on poetry. And apparently now I'm doing research for the stories I tell myself on long walks and as I fall asleep.

Yes? Well, okay. I don't know exactly what I was expecting when I first picked this up, but it certainly wasn't the poems I found in Songs of Innocence. This first volume is so excessively sweet, devoid of any hint of adult cynicism, that I felt a bit unmoored, and it actually took me days to work my way through them. It wasn't until I made it into Songs of Experience and heard the call and response between volumes that everything fell into place. Each side is illuminated and brought into relief by the other.

This volume contains what must surely be one of the most famous poems in the English language -- "The Tyger," which somehow I think I had never previously read in its entirety, though certainly I have seen its opening lines quoted often enough. Myself, I prefer "the Little Vagabond."

Worth its reputation after all, I'd have to say. ( )
  greeniezona | Dec 6, 2017 |
This is another lovely illustrated edition, same edition as the Heaven and Hell one, featuring facsimiles of Blake's original illuminated version of the text. It also has the basic text printed, and some analysis. Includes The Tyger and many others, lots of them about children. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Aug 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
William Blakeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Essick, Robert N.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Holmes, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Never before surely was a man so literally the author of his own book." - Alexander Gilchrist
Piping down the valleys wild,
Piping songs of pleasant glee,
He who mocks the Infants Faith
Shall be mock'd in the Age & Death
He who shall teach the Child of Doubt
The rotting Grave shall neer get out (E492)
Blake claims that all religious beliefs, however various, have a common origin in the "Poetic Genius" (E1), the godlike spirit within all people.
A note that Blake wrote in his manuscript of "The Four Zoas" also cautions us against dismissing innocence as naivete: "Innocence dwells with Wisdom but never with Ignorance" (E697).
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Contains about 150 pages commentary by Robert N. Essick. Please do not combine with other editions of Blake's work.
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Book description
This version of Blake's "Songs", edited by Robert N. Essick, presents Blake's 54 colour plates from "Innocence" and "Experience" along with an Introduction, transcription and extensive commentaries by Essick as he worked from the Huntington's copy E of the "Songs" commissioned by Thomas Butts in 1806. See below: Description (ISBN 0873282361)
Visionary, artist, poet and craftsman, William Blake had a unique view of the world around him. At the age of eight he saw 'a tree filled with angels,' and his perception of beauty in a paradisiacal arcadia shines from every naïve watercolour line of his paintings. Addressed to children, his poems are still loved today - 'Little Lamb who made thee/ Dost thou know who made thee' ('Lamb').
Haiku summary
Beauteous verses,
Voice of purity and pain,
Madman or Prophet?

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