Blake's Contrary States: The 'Songs of Innocence and Experience' as Dramatic Poems

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Cambridge University Press, Jan 2, 1966 - Juvenile Nonfiction - 257 pages
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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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Contents

The Poets Detachment
28
Blakes Criticism of Nature
49
The Child and Nature
81
The Gulf between Innocence and Experience
113
Blakes Criticism of Love
148
The Poet as Moral Critic
191
Blakes Criticism of Religion
223
The Date of Composition of the Songs
250
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About the author (1966)

Dr. Bill Gillham (1927-2011) taught psychology at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, hosted the nationally syndicated radio program Lifetime Guarantee, and spoke worldwide through Lifetime Ministries. He was also a Christian counselor, husband, and father of four.

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