Songs of Innocence and of Experience
Written by: William Blake
Edited by: Robert Essick
Format: 256 pages, 9.2 x 6.2 x 0.9 inches, hardcover
Release Date: 2008-11-05
About this Book
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.
About the Author
Robert N. Essick, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Riverside, is the author of numerous books on William Blake.
Reviews of Songs of Innocence and Experience:
"A beautiful book that offers us both access to the text as originally intended and in-depth exegesis of that text. . . . [An] essential book in the study of an always fascinating author."—Times Literary Supplement
"[A] beautiful book. . . . Represent[s] these works faithfully in all their splendid color and detail." —The Bloomsbury Review
See also Visions of the Daughters of Albion, edited by Robert N. Essick