Blake's Contrary States: The 'Songs of Innocence and Experience' as Dramatic Poems
In a fresh examination of Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience, poems which often seem strangely contradictory, Dr Gillham suggests that Blake is not stating his own thoughts and feelings but presenting 'dramatic' statements; he projects himself into other points of view, thus exploring possible states of being and feeling in which spiritual energy expresses itself. Certain eighteenth-century theories of the mind are examines, explaining the mind in terms of self-interest. Blake included this view in his vision of 'Experience'. The poems suggest, and explore the possibility that such a view, while true of the mind in one state, is not true of it in another. This other state, 'Innocence', is more outgoing, more responsible and more self-aware. The two states lead to quite different moral, religious and political beliefs, though they can use the same terms in doing so. Dr Gillham shows that poems seemingly in conflict can be seen from a consistent point of view.
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The Poets Detachment
Blakes Criticism of Nature
The Child and Nature
The Gulf between Innocence and Experience
Blakes Criticism of Love
The Poet as Moral Critic
Blakes Criticism of Religion
The Date of Composition of the Songs
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adult angels appear aware bard Blake Bolingbroke Burke child Christ Complete Writings 1957 creatures depicted described Divine Image dream Earth Ecchoing Green emotion emphasize father fear feelings Geoffrey Keynes gives happy heaven Hobbes Hobbes's holy Holy Thursday Human Abstract idea illustration impulses individual infant Infant Sorrow Innocence and Experience innocent poem innocent song institutions Kathleen Raine knowledge Lamb Laughing Song lines Little Boy Lost Lyca Mercy mind moral mother mystery natural never night notion Nurse's Songs o'er passions peace person piper pity poet poetry present priest reader reason religion religious second stanza seen selfish sense sexual shows Sick Rose sleep smiles Songs of Experience Songs of Innocence sorrow sort soul speaker statement suggests supernatural sweep sweeper Sweet sympathy thee things third stanza thou thought tion Tirzah tree truth Tyger understanding wanderer weep William Blake words Wordsworth