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It's Blake, but not as we know him...
on 23 March 2012
First of all, let me say I'm a fan of Blake, so no book containing his poetry will get a truly awful mark. However, this book comes with a fair few caveats:
- There are errors. Typos and layout issues, like others have said. I've used this in a degree-level course and found it difficult to navigate.
- There's none of Blake's artwork. To really appreciate quite a few of his poems, they need to be read as part of the images that surround them or much if not all of the meaning is lost.
- Many assertions (such as Burke's 'swinish multitude' quote being linked to 'The Tyger') are unreferenced, so there's no chance for further study.
If you're looking for a Key Stage Three study guide to Blake, this is excellent. It provides key themes such as 'motherhood' or 'despair' and provides a way into some poems (such as 'The SIck Rose'), but would be vastly improved with image analysis too, as the explanations given rarely mention the art.
So, if you're doing Blake at secondary school or A Level, and are seriously struggling: give this book a try, but try to avoid quoting it.