Songs of Innocence

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Dover Publications, 1971 - Art - 55 pages

William Blake's innovations in engraving techniques brought about his brilliant synthesis of visual and poetic art and signaled the beginning of his famous "Illuminated Books," of which the Songs of Innocence was the first and most popular. Unfortunately, Blake's vision is generally known to the world in amputated form: because of the difficulty and expense of reproducing his original conception, most editions of Blake's work offer only the printed text, with no trace of the visual counterpart so essential to his "System."
This new, facsimile edition of the Songs of Innocence reproduces Blake's color plates in a fashion which the artist himself would have approved. The 31 plates — printed on facing pages which are the same size of Blake's own first edition — offer one of the more brightly colored versions of this significant volume, no two copies of which are the same. As a special aid to readers, a typographical reprint of the text of poems follows the plates. Such classic "songs" as "The Lamb" and "The Chimney Sweeper" are now accessible to all in the symbiotic union of poem and picture that is crucial to a total understating of Blake's mind and art.

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User Review  - Stevil2001 - LibraryThing

I liked the pictures in Songs of Experience better than those in Songs of Innocence-- at least in the originals used for my Dover facsimile edition, the colors are much richer and darker. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Jakeofalltrades - LibraryThing

The first poetry book I bought of my own free will. I bought it since it had "The Tyger" included in it, as well as the illustrations. The text on the plates of the illustrations are hard to read, but ... Read full review

Contents

Holy Thursday 9 38
9
The Ecchoing Green 15 42
15
The Little Girl Lost 20
45
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About the author (1971)

William Blake's poems, prophecies, and engravings represent his strong vision and voice for rebellion against orthodoxy and all forms of repression. Born in London in November 1757; his father, a hosier of limited means, could do little for the boy's education. However, when the young Blake's talent for design became apparent, his wise father sent him to drawing school at the age of 10. In 1771 Blake was apprenticed to an engraver. Blake went on to develop his own technique, a method he claimed that came to him in a vision of his deceased younger brother. In this, as in so many other areas of his life, Blake was an iconoclast; his blend of printing and engraving gave his works a unique and striking illumination. Blake joined with other young men in support of the Revolutions in France and America. He also lived his own revolt against established rules of conduct, even in his own home. One of his first acts after marrying his lifetime companion, Catherine Boucher, was to teach her to read and write, rare for a woman at that time. Blake's writings were increasingly styled after the Hebrew prophets. His engravings and poetry give form and substance to the conflicts and passions of the elemental human heart, made real as actual characters in his later work. Although he was ignored by the British literary community through most of his life, interest and study of his work has never waned. Blake's creativity and original thinking mark him as one of the earliest Romantic poets, best known for his Songs of Innocence (1789) and Songs of Experience (1794) and The Tiger. Blake died in London in 1827.

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