Writer and religious rebel, William Blake (1757 1827) sowed the seeds for Romanticism in his innovative poems concerning faith and the visions that inspired him throughout his life. Whether describing his own spirituality, the innocence of youth or the corruption caused by mankind, his writings depict a world in which spirits dominate and the mind is the gateway to Heaven. This collection of his greatest works spans his entire poetic life from the early, exquisite lyrics of Poetic Sketches to his Songs of Innocence and Experience, and is a compelling exploration of good and evil. Together, they illuminate a self-made realm that has fascinated artists and poets as diverse as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Yeats, and Ginsberg.
About The Author
William Blake was born in Broad Street in 1757, the son of a London hosier. Having attended Henry Parr’s drawing school in the Strand, he was in 1772 apprenticed to Henry Basire, engraver to the Society of Antiquaries, and later was admitted as a student to the Royal Academy, where he exhibited in 1780. He married Catherine Boucher in 1782 and in 1783 published Poetical Sketches. The first of his ‘illuminated books’ was Songs of Innocence (1789), which, like The Book of Thel (published in the same year), has as its main themes the celebration of innocence and its inviolability.
Blake sets out his ideas more fully in his chief prose work, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1791), which proclaims his lifelong belief in the moral primacy of the imagination. But in Songs of Experience (1794) he recognizes the power of repression, and in a series of short narrative poems he looks for mankind’s redemption from oppression through a resurgence of imaginative life. By 1797 he was ready for epic; Vala was never finished, but in Milton and Jerusalem he presents his renewed vision of reconciliation among the warring fragments of humanity. Other striking poems of his middle years are the lyrics of the Pickering Manuscript, and The Everlasting Gospel, but in the last years of his life he expressed himself in drawing rather than poetry.
Little of Blake’s work was published in conventional form. He combined his vocations as poet and graphic artist to produce books that are visually stunning. He also designed illustrations of works by other poets and devised his own technique for producing large watercolour illustrations and colour-printed drawings. Blake died in 1827, ‘an Old Man feeble & tottering but not in Spirit & Life not in the Real Man The Imagination which Liveth for Ever’.
|Poetical sketches||p. 3|
|'An island in the moon'||p. 9|
|Songs by shepherds||p. 10|
|Songs of innocence||p. 24|
|The book of Thel||p. 42|
|The marriage of heaven and hell||p. 47|
|'A fairy leapt'||p. 60|
|Visions of the daughters of Albion||p. 61|
|America a prophecy||p. 69|
|Songs of experience||p. 116|
|Europe a prophecy||p. 129|
|The first book of Urizen||p. 138|
|The song of Los||p. 154|
|A asked a thief||p. 158|
|Vala or the four Zoa's||p. 159|
|To the queen||p. 289|
|The ballads or Pickering manuscript||p. 290|
|The ghost of Abel||p. 299|
|For the sexes : the gates of paradise||p. 302|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 400
Published: 30th March 2006
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.29
Edition Number: 1