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Songs of Innocence and of Experience [Paperback]

William Blake , Will Jonson
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
Price: 3.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

7 Aug 2013
Probably the most politically radical collection of poetry in the English language. In 'Songs of Innocence' Blake portrays humanity in an idyllic pastoral setting, full of naturalness and simplicity, but not immune from exploitation. In 'Songs of Experience' Blake portrays the world as it really is - full of social, economic, religious and sexual repression, managed by the institutions of the Church, the State, the monarchy and the rich. This edition re-prints the original final stanza of 'London' - which appears in Blake's notebook but which was left out of the original edition, because of its clear revolutionary meaning. If you enjoy this book, you might also be interested in Blake's 'Auguries of Innocence and Other Lyric Poems' - ISBN: 978-1495380877

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Product details

  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (7 Aug 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1491281413
  • ISBN-13: 978-1491281413
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 0.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 31,609 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A really beautiful and handy edition. --Tracey Chevalier --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognized during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of both the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. His prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language". His visual artistry has led one British art journalist to proclaim him "far and away the greatest artist Britain has ever produced". Although he lived in London his entire life except for three years spent in Felpham he produced a diverse and symbolically rich corpus, which embraced the imagination as "the body of God", or "Human existence itself". Considered mad by contemporaries for his idiosyncratic views, Blake is held in high regard by later critics for his expressiveness and creativity, and for the philosophical and mystical undercurrents within his work. His paintings and poetry have been characterized as part of both the Romantic movement and "Pre-Romantic", for its large appearance in the 18th century. Reverent of the Bible but hostile to the Church of England, Blake was influenced by the ideals and ambitions of the French and American revolutions, as well as by such thinkers as Jakob Böhme and Emanuel Swedenborg. Despite these known influences, the singularity of Blake's work makes him difficult to classify. The 19th century scholar William Rossetti characterised Blake as a "glorious luminary," and as "a man not forestalled by predecessors, nor to be classed with contemporaries, nor to be replaced by known or readily surmisable successors." Historian Peter Marshall has classified Blake as one of the forerunners of modern anarchism, along with Blake's contemporary William Godwin. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pure Perfection 8 Nov 2008
My favourite edition of Blake's immortal poems. This book is in hardback and has the original paintings. It is small enough to slip into a pocket or bag so that you can have it handy to reach. Unfortunately some people will find the print too small, and so if you want a slightly larger print version with the illustrations I would advise you to look at other editions on this website.

Each poem is printed clearly in easy print with the facing page showing how it originally appeared when first produced in a painting. Over the years Blake has been considered both insane, and a genius. With this collection it is nowadays rightly considered that he was a genius. The title of the book gives you some idea what the poems are about, but although they are easy to read, and seem to just trip off the tongue they are deceptively more complicated that at first sight. Blake uses so much symbolism that every time you read one of these poems something extra appears, especially with the incorporation of the paintings.

Blake is so hard to pin down as specifically meaning this or that, so much so that his poems have a life of their own, coming to mean different things to different people. We all have our own favourites, mine being London and The Tyger, which I can just sit down and read over and over again. This is definitely a book that you come back to time and again, whether it is just to read them for pleasure or for inspiration.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing kindle edition 2 Nov 2011
By D. Sim
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I love my kindle app on iPad. I was grabbed by a few lines of poetry found on a wall, and found they were penned by William Blake. So what better way to experience his writing than this, the highly rated collection of verse.

However, I found the resolution of the illustrations terrible. The text within is illegible. As each poem is also included as plain text, this would be almost bearable, but the layout is also intolerable, with lines breaking across pages and bizarre massive white space gaps.

Very, very poor. Do not buy the kindle edition.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely little book 8 Feb 2010
Words and pictures, some people claim words are pictures, i suppose they are, but words signify something a little more concrete, a specific idea, moreso than pictures can. A picture is worth a thousand words, so they say, thats probably because pictures are ambiguous, a picture can have more diverse understandings because there's no one right meaning. Whereas words can be defined, cutting off any opportunity for creativity of meaning.

This little book is one of the greatest art pieces ever, the poems which are like childrens stories, like fairytales, are accompanied by beautiful little paintings, and there's no attempt by Blake to make one bow down to the other, it all just fits. Its poetry, some people, like e.e.cummings, would have the words spread out along the page in strange patterns, and the arrangement of words would be important to the understanding. Here, the pictures are actually a part of the poems, and the poems of the pictures. No real distinction is made, and yet it causes absolutely no (visible) anxiety to Blake to break rules and rebuild new ones in such a way.

I guess that's William Blake though, a one of a kind sort of fellow, seems like the kind of person whose asides and throwaway lines would be golden to a lesser artist. And this book is a must.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, but too small 15 Feb 2009
This is an excellent edition of William Blakes SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE. It features both a more legible text as well as the original paintings/drawings, in which the songs were published by the author. However, since the format of this book is only 15.8 x 10.6 cm the pictures of the original publication are very small, and the text on them can hardly be read. TOO BAD!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great poems, poor formatting 3 Nov 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Songs of Innocence and Experience is a collection of wonderful poems. However this edition does not work on the Kindle at all well. The poems are not formatted into verses, as they should be. Also some longer poems disappear off the bottom of the page. These sections are inaccessible. It seems that the page breaks are not set correctly. All in all, it is most frustrating.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars William Blake? Yeah, he's pretty great 14 May 2006
William Blake is one of the most influencial poets in history, and would make my list of top five poets ever any day of the week. 'Songs of Innocence and Experience' is his most famous and highly regarded set of poems, and rightly so too. 'Innocence and Experience' is unique in so far as there are a lot of poems with duplicate titles, but both poems will be from a completely different viewpoint, a different time in life; the poems from 'Innocence' will often reflect happiness and optimism etc, whereas the counterpart 'Expreience' poem will refelct completely the opposite, this allows Blake of course to make rather poignant comments on the corruption of innocence, as well as a lot of rather biting observations on 17th century society and in particular on the concept of organised religion, as whilst Blake himself was, and evidently from many of his poems is, a very religious man, but often makes clear statements out against the oppressiveness of the church. I would say the best poem for illustrating this is 'The Garden of Love,' which I consider one of his best poems. I would also draw attention the the 'experience' version of 'Little Boy Lost', which is as far as I'm concerned, the most powerful poem of all the one's in the collection.

But unlike someone like Milton, Blake's poetry is accessible to everyone, his style is by no means complex, and 'Songs of Innocence and Experience' is something that just about anyone can enjoy and at least get a feel for what the writer is trying to do. I urge you to buy this now.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Plain and Simple
I thought it was the actual book but it is just a thin exercise type book with the poems in and none of the pictures. Might have been my fault but I did read the description.
Published 1 month ago by Chloe Lloyd
1.0 out of 5 stars not all the poems
Terrible, it's not what is says. It's only a selection of the poems rather than the whole collection of innocence and experience - should really say in the description. Read more
Published 1 month ago by James G.
4.0 out of 5 stars The elegance of thought
Blake's work has been a favorite of mine, for many years.
It's written simply, so it's easy to read, for adult & child alike.
Published 8 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely little book to carry in your bag
This is a charming volume that one can take in your bag anywhere and read in quiet moments and learn about William Blake
Published 9 months ago by B. Lyn
1.0 out of 5 stars Shameful excuse for a book
Very poor quality edition, hardly any better than stapling together your own photocopies from your printer. None of Blake's beautiful illustrations. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Pip Hitchen
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good quality binding, page and inventory and comments narrating.
When I purchased this I did not expect the quality to be this high. My sincere gratitude to the publishers. Spot on.
Published 10 months ago by vasos panayiotou
I ordered this collection because I was studying it for my English Literature A-Level. I absolutely loved the copy, it is small (and thus adorable! Read more
Published 10 months ago by SianNicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Please ignore the negative reviews
This is an excellent little book to slip in your pocket. It's also Smyth-Sewn, so should last a lifetime if you look after it. Read more
Published 15 months ago by 81641
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a tablet
I nearly did not buy this because of the 1 star review that complained about the quality of the illustrations. But when I did, I was very pleased. Read more
Published 21 months ago by the other half
2.0 out of 5 stars No sence and inexperience
Great idea - but badly implemented on the Kindle. Poems run off the bottom of the page, but if you go to the next page you don't find the rest of the poem. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2011 by Amazon Customer
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