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3.7 out of 5 stars49
3.7 out of 5 stars
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 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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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 3 November 2010
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 March 2013
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. I'm afraid I don't understand what people are saying about the small print. The print is fine, and easily readable. Blake's illustrations complete the book for me. I hadn't been aware he did anything in colour, only black and white engravings. I would highly recommend this book to buy for yourself, or as a gift for someone. I don't need to make any comment about the poems themselves, since they have stood the test of time and will continue to delight and challenge all who read them.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2011
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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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 15 February 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2013
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!) and the poems are all printed next to their enravings. It is all really beautiful, but it was so beautiful that I didn't want to write in it haha. So I printed copies of all of the poems to put my annotations on. For that reason, if you want a copy of the collection to annotate then I wouldn't recommend this one because it is so small and too lovely to write on. But if you want the book to enjoy Blake's poetry then this is a brilliant copy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 8 October 2014
The gem in this volume is the careful photographic copies of the original. It is as simple as that. You can see and appreciate the art of this very, very strange man. Remember, this is an artist who painted Lot (from the Old Testament - yes, that's right) when what was in front of him was an empty chair. For Blake God was a next door neighbor who visited daily. His insights into his contemporary world are both cutting and surprisingly modern. This coupled with his spiritual experiences is somewhere between shocking and astounding. Above all is the ART. That saves all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2014
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.
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