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1. Poems of William Blake
2. The Complete Poetry & Prose
3. Songs of Innocence and Experience
4. William Blake: The Complete Illuminated
5. A Visit to William Blake's Inn:
6. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:
7. The Portable William Blake (Portable
8. Blake's Poetry and Designs (Norton
9. A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas
10. Illustrations of the Book of Job
11. William Blake's Sexual Path to
12. William Blake on Self and Soul
13. The Stranger from Paradise: A
14. Blake's Songs of Innocence and
15. The Letters
16. Songs of Innocence and Experience:
17. The Book of Urizen: A Facsimile
18. Poems & Prophecies
19. The Illuminated Blake: William
20. The Cambridge Companion to William

1. Poems of William Blake
by William Blake, W B. 1865-1939 Yeats
 Paperback: 294 Pages (2010-09-06)
list price: US$28.75 -- used & new: US$20.68
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1171532733
Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process.We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars Formatting
Formatting is a key consideration to writing and reading poetry.This edition has no line breaks, and the formatting is very poor.But the text is intact, and how can you argue with free?

1-0 out of 5 stars Bare Bones
Contains Songs of Innocence and Experience and The Book of Thel only. Text is poorly formated; the line breaks are all screwed up. Blake is something you really really need to see on a page so do yourself a favor and buy a physical copy...ideally withthe beautiful etchings which Blake melded with the text.

2-0 out of 5 stars poems and pages differ from the 2006 version
Auguries of Innocence "to see the world in a grain of sand" is missing in the edition which I could see online - I bought it as a gift and my friend told me that the pages numbers do not match the description and the index of first lines - which puts the poem on a page that is not there.There are fewer pages than described ... Read more

2. The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake
by William Blake, William Golding
Paperback: 1024 Pages (1982-04-16)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$15.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385152132
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Since its first publication in 1965, this edition  has been widely hailed as the best available text  of Blake's poetry and prose. Now revised, if  includes up-to-date work on variants, chronology of  poems and critical commentary by Harold Bloom.

An  "Approved Edition" of the Center for Scholarly  Editions of the Modern Language Association. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

4-0 out of 5 stars Definitive complete Blake edition
Although this book contains no paintings, which is to say it is only half Blake, it is a unique opportunity to have all Blake in one single volume.
Excellent edition.
The paperback binding is not very solid in this massive (circa 1000 page) book. Some pages detach...

5-0 out of 5 stars Soothing
It's amazing how soothing just reading William Blake's poetry is on the troubled soul.I always look for his work to ease my mind and lift my spirit.Everyone should treat themselves to his work.Peace be with you.

5-0 out of 5 stars It has it all
It has all his writings: letters, anotations scribbled in the margins of other people's books, everything.Only downside: it doesn't show his illuminated printing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Complete works of William Blake
A wonderful paperback edition, containing all the works of
William Blake, with a excellent introduction
of Harold Bloom. An priceless tool for students
and teachers

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding
This is an outstanding resource for anyone interested in the works of William Blake.It's well organized and easy to work with.I'm very pleased with it. ... Read more

3. Songs of Innocence and Experience
by William Blake
Paperback: 28 Pages (2010-07-24)
list price: US$14.14 -- used & new: US$14.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1443252689
Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The book has no illustrations or index. Purchasers are entitled to a free trial membership in the General Books Club where they can select from more than a million books without charge. Subjects: Poetry / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh; Music / Songbooks; Art / Fine Arts; ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

1-0 out of 5 stars Bits and Pieces
A great poet, but this edition chops off the ends of many of his poems.A frustrating experience.

1-0 out of 5 stars Poorly Formatted
This review is specific to the Kindle edition which is impossible to read due to formatting problems. As a previous reviewer noted, even on the smallest size font the end of many of the poems is cut off. I even tried reading it on my PC to see if that helped - it didn't. A great pity because the content deserves five stars. Don't waste your time downloading this version, even if it is free. Either wait until the formatting issues have been resolved, or pay for a decent version.

1-0 out of 5 stars bad edition
this edition often cuts off the bottom of the poem even on the smallest font.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perhaps Blake's Greatest Achievement
William Blake is one of the most original and influential English poets - so eccentric and ground-breaking that even his biggest fans considered him insane long after his death. The poems in Songs of Innocence & Experience are his most popular and lasting achievement, essential for anyone even remotely interested in poetry and a good place for those new to Blake and poetry generally to start.

1789's Songs of Innocence celebrated innocence as variously reflected in childhood, showing infants' and children's relatively pure mental and physical states before adult corruption. Many of its poems are first person from a child's perspective, and most of the rest describe a child's point of view; others speak to or about them. Blake used appropriately simple vocabulary and form; lines are short, rhymes obvious, and imagery very pared down. Indeed, at first glance, the poems seem puerile. However, a closer look shows they are anything but; despite - or perhaps even to a certain degree because of - this, they have a wealth of significance. They are in fact at least as complex as most far longer works; extremely thought-provoking and often morally ambiguous, they raise a host of important questions. These apparently simple poems address a wide range of theological and ontological queries. They also deal with more practical themes like class, race, and family relations, taking on economic, social, and other concerns. Most of these are answered with conventional platitudes heavily soaked in Christianity; the poems seem a paean to optimism and can be very uplifting, but cynics may even laugh aloud.

However, this is only half the story. In 1794 Blake added Songs of Experience, which essentially carried the concept into adulthood. Simple poetic trappings remained, but the tone was now far darker; cynicism and pessimism crept in, showing an opposite plane of thought and seemingly even a different world. Several poems were direct responses to those in Innocence, sometimes with the same name. This greatly multiplied the works' already very complex nature. It is important to remember Blake's subtitle:Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. Experience essentially deals with the same questions as Innocence but has contrary conclusions. Having them in the same book is disarming and perhaps somewhat unsettling. Blake does not say which, if either, he believes or show any favoritism; one might say putting the Experience poems last does the latter, but this is merely chronological. He creates a true moral and intellectual murk, leaving us to find our way out - if we can.

As this suggests, the poems were not only at the very advent of Romanticism but also very modern in a way literature almost never was until the late nineteenth century. Blake was so far ahead of his time that it is small surprise he was little understood or appreciated. Succeeding generations have seen him and his work in various ways, but the notable thing is that both have endured; his work has such greatness and depth that each age sees itself in it. This is partly because of its ambiguity but at least as due to its universality; Blake's themes are fundamental human thoughts and emotions that let his work speak as profoundly now as ever. Here we begin to see just how important his simple forms are; they are as appropriate for the themes as the subjects. Since his concerns are elemental, so are his forms; the former are relevant to all and the latter accessible to all, letting him speak to all. This aspect also makes the songs a great way to introduce the uninitiated to poetry and are indeed often used in introductory classes; his eminently accessible verse is perfectly suited for showing the rudiments of meter, tropes, and rhyme. Conversely, of course, his treatments are anything but simple, which makes him ideal for the most abstruse close readings - an apparent paradox he would doubtless have appreciated.

There are many ways to buy Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, but it is essential to get both and read consecutively, whether in individual or combined editions. Blake meant them to be experienced as one, and they play off each other as few works do. Getting one is not just missing half the experience but nearly the whole; they are able to stand on their own, but the impression is extremely misleading and, perhaps more importantly, unintended. They are so excellent in any case that anyone who reads one will immediately want the other, making both doubly necessary.

It is also important to realize that Blake was as much a visual as a literary artist and in fact issued the poems in "Illuminated Books" where they were written on color plates with various pictorial representations. He did not consider the poems standalone works, and the visual element is indeed important. Pictures often underline or reinforce the words but sometimes seem to give a contrary impression; only a few are apparently incidental. Whether or not one likes visual art and regardless of how one thinks the poems work in themselves, they do play off visual elements in complicated and interesting ways. Needless to say, because the plates are expensive and difficult to reproduce, nearly all collections have only the poems - a concept that would have appalled Blake if he could have even conceived it. The poems are of course more than good enough to stand alone, but we must remember that Blake never meant them to do so. The dedicated will want to seek out editions reproducing the artwork in addition to the poems.
... Read more

4. William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books
by William Blake
Paperback: 480 Pages (2001-04)
list price: US$44.95 -- used & new: US$28.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0500282455
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In his Illuminated Books, William Blake combined text and imagery on a single page in a way that had not been done since the Middle Ages. For Blake, religion and politics, intellect and emotion, mind and body were both unified and in conflict with each other: his work is expressive of his personal mythology, and his methods of conveying it were integral to its meaning. There is no comparison with reading books such as Jerusalem, America, and Songs of Innocence and of Experience in Blake's own medium, infused with his sublime and exhilarating colors. Tiny figures and forms dance among the lines of the text, flames appear to burn up the page, and dense passages of Biblical-sounding text are brought to a jarring halt by startling images of death, destruction, and liberation. Blake's hope that his books would obtain wide circulation was unfulfilled: some exist only in unique copies and none was printed in more than very small numbers. Now, for the first time, the plates from the William Blake Trust's Collected Edition have been brought together in a single volume, with transcripts of the texts and an introduction by the noted scholar David Bindman. A major retrospective exhibition of Blake's work can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (March-June 2001). 400 color illustrations.

Songs of Innocence and of Experience
All Religions are One
There is No Natural Religion
The Book of Thel
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Visions of the Daughters of Albion
America a Prophecy
Europe a Prophecy
The Song of Los
Milton a Poem
The Ghost of Abel
On Homers Poetry [and] On Virgil
The First Book of Urizen
The Book of Ahania
The Book of Los
... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Complete Graphics of Blake are a Fabulous Find on Amazon.com!
Peter Ackroyd's biography, Blake, renewed my interest in Blake's graphic work. This collection of Blake's plates turns out to be wonderfully exciting, complete and visually arresting. I am extremely excited by it. The opportunity to read his work as written, painted or etched in his own hand is wonderful. Moreover, I find that the same texts that soon proved "dry" when viewed as text alone now come alive when accompanied by the Master's graphic designs.

Frankly, I can't wait to share copies with friends. I have already shared it with those couple of friends with an interest in art and poetry.

3-0 out of 5 stars For the coffee table
The plates included in the "Complete Illuminated Books" are not enhanced or magnified at all to the detriment of the eager reader. While seeing Blake's images as they were printed is certainly beautiful, reading the handwritten text is nearly impossible as the handwriting is either far too small or in some cases, not clear at all. True, the full text of each "illuminated book" is printed in the back, but this is hardly convenient and to read the text along with the accompanying image is nearly impossible as the text is reprinted in its entirety as opposed to page by page.

A fine book for the coffee table but those interested in getting the full experience of the illuminated works should look elsewhere.

Simply magnifying some of the smaller plates or reprinting the corresponding text on the opposite page would have completely solved this problem and made "The Complete Illuminated Books" a must-own rather than an I-wish-I-hadn't-bought-this!

2-0 out of 5 stars A bad intro to Blake - only good for scholars
I read a poem by this guy entitled "Auguries of Innocence" and was blown away.
So I get this book, hoping that it would be as good as an R. Crumb art book,
like R's Book of Genesis Illustrated. In fact, this book has graphic values
that make it hard to read. The editors did an incredibly impressive job
of faithfully reproducing Blake's work (or so I assume, I'm no Blake expert).
In that way, it's an amazing success.However, a lot of the poetry is hardly
legible (Blake's handwritten print style is hard for me). If you can read it,
fine.It's also all in an appendix in modern typeface, but for some reason they
chose a 6-point read-it-with-a-magnifying-glass font.And face it, Blake's work
is intended for a time and place that's far removed from our current sensibilities.
So you really need side-notes or a guide for it.
This book would be a great for a Blake scholar, but no good for a noob.

4-0 out of 5 stars William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books
My only comlaint about this book is the choice of copy for some of the poems. Thanks to the Blake Archive, we are able to compare copies of the various poems, and some of them are much more beautiful than the ones included here. Of course, there is only one color copy of Jerusalem, and it alone makes the book worth it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic buy for the price
Excellent illustrations, not as large as those in museum exhibits, but just as powerful, and they are all here. ... Read more

5. A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers
by Nancy Willard
Paperback: 48 Pages (1982-10-29)
list price: US$7.00 -- used & new: US$2.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0152938230
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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A collection of poems describing the curious menagerie of guests who arrive at William Blake's inn. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars A must-have!!!!
This childrens book is a culmination of everything wonderful about literature! GET IT! The illustrations are ornate and beautiful to boot. xxxxxx

5-0 out of 5 stars Best childrens book EVER!
This book is amazing.
The more I read it the more I love it.
It interests my 2 year old when he is awake and the beautiful poetry lulls him to sleep at nap time.
In my 18 years of child care I have never loved a book like I do this one.
My son has sophisticated taste fora 2 year old, but no matter the age of your child buy it now and you won't regret it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Fabulous Addition to our Library
A must-have for anyone with children - poetry is too often forgotten and an important part of children's literature. Fabulously illustrated.

5-0 out of 5 stars Poetry for Children
I became acquainted with Nancy Willard's poetry when I found a review for "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" in the listing of another Amazon reviewer.The present book, copyright 1981, won the John Newbery Medal for tne most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.I would hesitate to recommend an age group.I turn 70 next week, and I enjoyed the poems.The poems can be read to younger children, or read by older children.There are large, full color illustrations.There are 34 pages of text and illustrations (starting on page 12), including the introduction and the closing page with Blake's Advice to Travelers.

4-0 out of 5 stars The best inn ever
This book is so funny because of the character's attitude. It even has strong words, like "makintosh".But I like it best because it has poems that rhyme. ... Read more

6. The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: A Facsimile in Full Color
by William Blake
Paperback: 48 Pages (1994-09-01)
list price: US$6.95 -- used & new: US$2.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0486281221
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Inspired satire on religion and morality, including 70 aphorisms of "Proverbs of Hell." 27 full-color plates, full text.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

4-0 out of 5 stars Marriage of Heaven and Hell = Worth It
William Blake is a humorous satirical writer. His Proverbs of Hell is widely favored and I completely understand why it is so. The 70 axioms under the Proverbs of Hell are both humorous and good principals to hold. Many of these axioms are "quotable" and I've found myself quoting one here and there throughout my day.
I highly recommend this book to anyone! It comes with pictures of the original copper plates the book was printed on but also only has the text at the end.
Takes 30 minutes tops to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars inspirational
I have enough background now to think I understand the major controversies facing the English when William Blake wrote this book. I still find some lines shocking. Plate 21 picks on Swedenborg for boasting "that what he writes is new." As Blake pointed out: "he shews the folly of churches and exposes hypocrites, till he imagines that all are religious, & himself the single one that ever broke a net." Social systems that rely on doctrines don't have much staying power in a world in which the future keeps getting snatched away from those with superficial opinions. If this book is frightening for some, it has stood the test of time since 1794 and might last longer than what we think of it.

5-0 out of 5 stars William Blake would, I think be delighted with this version of his work on Amazon.com!
Peter Ackroyd's biography, Blake, renewed my interest in Blake's graphic work. This small copy of Blake' work is intriguing and unintimidating,given that it is short and exquisitely designed from a graphic standpoint. In short, it's accessible. An inexpensive taste test, you might say. I bought two copies just to share with friends.

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy to Read
The illuminations accompanying Blake's poetry should be considered necessary to the reading of his poems.The illuminations are beautiful, descriptive, obviously terribly time consuming and should not be counted as something separate from the words.That said, sometimes it is difficult to read the poems on the illuminations, as they were meant to be read.This book provides the complete illuminations followed by the poems sans illumination, for ease of reading.Also, the price is of course outstanding, as illuminated versions of Blake's poetry can get quite pricey.

5-0 out of 5 stars School Book
This is a book I needed for a college Humanities class.Amazon and the book sellers on this site are GREAT resources for school books!The service is always so quick, you have the options for paperback editions which are way easier to carry around, and the prices are unbeatable.Thank you for offering so many options and for great pricing and service. ... Read more

7. The Portable William Blake (Portable Library)
by William Blake
Paperback: 736 Pages (1977-02-24)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$5.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140150269
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars Good anthology, not so great presentation
This book contains a very good selection of Blake's most important and beautiful texts, and I have enjoyed reading it very much. My only complain is the quality of the paper which is very low, like mass-market paperback it resembles newspaper in texture and smell. There is a section of the book that reproduces some of his engravings in black and white, which is but a shadow of Blake's grandiose visual imagery.

If you want to sample some of this authors work on a budget, to see if you like it, then this book may be for you. But for Blake lovers there are better volumes, of complete works, some of them illustrated in color. That's what I will be purchasing next.

5-0 out of 5 stars William Blake stands in paradise next to Dostoevsky
Francis Bacon, David Hume, Bishop Berkeley, John Locke, Edmund Burke; just a few of British philososphers. Some, like Burke and to some extant Hume are very tiresome and repulsive if one were to view them in a Nietzschean light. Other philosophers like Bertrand Russell, I loathe. Adam Smith and Thomas Carlyle: the former a crafty swindler who discovered clever ways to exploit the massess and cheat an honest man, the latter an insipid moron who boasted to the world that he was an atheist liberal who supported slavery.

British philososphy is not very exciting with such hum drum guys like the Locke who have a tiresome system of rationalizing every aspect of existence and smug bitter atheist[..]like Russell. It seems that British philosophy is dryer than dust.

Until one discoveres Blake...

William Blake (1757 - 1827), at once the purest philosopher, the most facinating figure, the greatest painter and most perfect poets ever set forth from Britain. Blake almost in the immense impressivness of his art and poetry to not be British, yet he is. Really the only true poet in the English language, the only true philosopher from Britain, for all true philosophers are poets and all true poets, philosophers. Blake is truly a noble soul

I read The Marriage of Heaven and Hell about a month ago. I am certain that it is one of those rare pieces of art that appears in literature; a beautiful work of art that appears so before its time (we seem only to begin to catch up to Blake in English) so before its time like the novels of Dostoevsky, especially Notes from Underground, lyrically Dostoevsky at his best, but my great Russian Brother is not the subject of this.

William Blake is the perfect embodiment of the Dionysian in art and literature. His works, such as the illustrations of Milton and especially Dante are the most beautiful paintings by an British hand. Particularly in the case of his illustration of the gates of Hell. This perfect haunting beauty is my ideal. Haunting in its depth of artistry, haunting in its appearence with Vergil looking at Dante in an ominous and yet celebratory way. One simply does not know. The mystery is half of Blake's magnificence and perfection.

Blake understands that many questions are left unanswered and that is my stand. I agree with him and Nietzsche when he is against the neo-classical ideal of rational explanations of every aspect of existence. I loathe many philosophers. Silence all who dare to cheapen our beautiful illusions.

5-0 out of 5 stars The introduction alone is worth the price of admission
The best of William Blake (and then some!), taken off the shelf, dusted off and propped up for the rest of eternity to consider. From the aphorisms of "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell" (required reading) to thelater prophetic books, it's Blake in all of his...Blakeness. And let's givea hand to Kazin for his fantastic Introduction to one of the heavy-hittersof the Western tradition. ... Read more

8. Blake's Poetry and Designs (Norton Critical Editions)
by William Blake
Paperback: 704 Pages (2007-11)
-- used & new: US$16.26
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039392498X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Second Edition of this revered Norton Critical Edition is the most comprehensive introduction to Blake’s poetry and thought available.In addition to a broad selection ofthe poems, the volume includes over 100 images(16 in color), emphasizing the centrality ofpictorial representations to Blake’s verse.Biographical context is provided through dozensof excerpts from Blake’s notebook, letters,marginalia, and other writings.“Criticism”offers twenty wide-ranging commentaries bywriters from Blake’s contemporaries topresent-day critics, among them Samuel TaylorColeridge, Northrop Frye, Allen Ginsberg, Morris Eaves, Harold Bloom, Alicia Ostriker, John Mee,Saree Makdisi, and Julia Wright.A section onTextual Technicalities, a Chronology of Blake’slife and work, a Selected Bibliography, and anIndex of Titles and First Lines are alsoincluded. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly Revised Second Edition
With apologies for self-promotion (awarding this book 4 stars so as not to bring down the average), I just want to point out that the old 1979 cover, the "Look Inside" feature, and the existing reviews here are misleading because they do not reflect changes in our new 2008 edition. This new throughly reworked and updated edition now contains all of Blake's *Jerusalem*, revised introductions and notes, a reallocated section of criticism (reflecting developments since 1979), more lightly punctuated texts, much more beautifully reproduced color images of Blake's own designs (17, counting the cover), an expanded chronology, enhanced maps, and numerous cross-references to web resources, especially the William Blake Archive[...] and the University of Georgia's eE (electronic Erdman) and Blake Concordance please see:

Mary Lynn Johnson & John E. Grant
(we welcome feedback at john-grant@uiowa.edu)

4-0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Edition of the Texts of William Blake
The editors of this text did a fine job.I've noticed especially their choice of page breaks and quotations on the more difficult poems (the Prophetic Books) are admirable.They've made the poetry from our beloved William Blake accessible to a wider audience by editing his text to decrease the chance of confusion through mere ambiguity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very solid edition of Blake's works
William Blake is one of those soaring pioneers of the human imagination whose visions and their scope make you feel rather humble at times.His works are quite diverse and his output during his life very considerable.Blake's longer poems, such as 'Jerusalem' or the 'Four Zoas', would easily make large books of their own in any edition of his works.

This Norton's edition contains selections from several of Blake's major works, including his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, his visionary poems, as well as his political poems.The book also contains many scholarly aids including a chronology of Blake's life, critical essays by leading Blake scholars, and colour pages showing Blake's beautiful illustrations to some of his works (as well as being a great poet Blake was also a painter and engraver of very considerable ability).While critics never seem to really reach any consensus on what Blake's poems really 'mean' (Blake is read variously as a Gnostic by Harold Bloom, a revolutionary critic of England during the industrial revolution by Terry Eagleton, or as a disciple of Swedenborg and Boehme by others) Blake's poems contain incredible beauty and visionary power and polyvalent symbols energised with multiple meanings.I think if one consistent theme can be read from Blake and his poems, and I think this was his own intent, was that the power of the human imagination and what it produces in art transcends any attempt to 'bracket' or reduce it to a dead and static system of lifeless scientific symbols; I imagine Blake would class many critics of his work as agents of Urizen, trying to carve out of the fiery energized cosmos of the living human mind the perfect frozen archetype which orders all things perfectly but in doing so, misses the whole point.

Blake's poems then should be read not by trying to impose what you want to see in them but by trying to let them speak to you and perhaps, ignite your own spark of imagination, as Blake has done with many brilliant poets from Yeats to Allan Ginsberg and many others.

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good text for introducing Blake to students
This is a book is quite good as most Norton Critical Editions are.It has a lot of what is needed by students for a course on Blake or, more likely, a course that spends part of a term on Blake.

It has some biographical material and some maps of England and London at the time Blake lived.There are also a good helping of black and white as well as color plates of Blake's illuminated works.The color plates are only good - the color is not produced beautifully.The student will only get an impression of the true power of Blake's artistry.However, a good teacher will point the student to the Blake Archive at:... so the students can see the works more completely with variants and in better color (if you have good video cards and monitors).

One of the best parts of this book begins on page 176 where working drafts are shown and compared to the final versions.There is also a nice selection of critical writing on Blake - criticism from Blake's time through the present.There is also a useful bibliography.

In some ways this is "Erdman Lite", but it is much more portable than Erdman and for an introductory course on Blake it is probably sufficient.I am glad that I have it in my library.

But please don't stop here!

5-0 out of 5 stars Blake's Poetry and Designs
Nice book, but too bad its front picture cover is defaced by Norton's double-layer of big gold stickers with high-tack adhesive that makes them impossible to remove without adhesive remaining on the cover. ... Read more

9. A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas and Symbols of William Blake
by S. Foster Damon
Paperback: 573 Pages (1988-06-15)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$23.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0874514363
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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An indispensable guide to Blake's ideas and symbols is once again available in paper, with a new foreword and annotated bibliography ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars Required for Students of Blake
Title says it all. Not that it's perfect, but it's one of a number of foundational books for helping understanding Blake, at least from a scholarly perspective.

It provides a list of terms, names, places, etc., their symbolism and logical background for their derivation, and so forth. Dictionary structure makes it ideal for students plumbing the depths of Blake's world.

5-0 out of 5 stars He Whose Face Gives No Light, Shall Never Become a Star
Many thousands of books have been written about William Blake. Three quarters of them should be hurled from the top of 60-storey buildings then trampled on by herds of rogue elephants. Most of the rest should be replaced with care on library shelves and quietly consumed by silverfish.

Here is a book that is not only Not an abomination but is actually worth buying. It was first published back in the happy sapphire days of 1965, when even an academic could still read a poet to find out what he or she had to say; and could write about a poet without quoting from a single unreadable French intellectual.

I have learnt more from William Blake than from anyone else writing English; but his longer poems are notoriously difficult, and at first they can appear overwhelmingly confusing. One of the major obstacles is the quantity of strange and uncouth names, of imaginary people and places, of home-made concepts, that speckle every page.

Eventually you'll find out that they mattered less than you thought, all those names. But having this book at hand to allay name-anxiety during the early stages will help you relax and just read. Blake never presents theories, or things that may or may not be true: only what he himself has Seen. What he saw was so uncommon he had to create his own way of expressing it. When you can swim in the ocean of Blake's thought - when you can make out what he's talking about - this Dictionary will have served its purpose.

I don't always agree with S. Foster Damon's interpretations. Freud and Jung should not be used to interpret Blake. He was well aware of what we call the Subconscious; but what he calls Eternity is Not, repeat Not, Jung's Collective Unconscious. Still, no two people will read Blake in exactly the same way. If you plan to explore Blake (and you should) this is the one essential guide.

5-0 out of 5 stars An essential reference work for Blake scholarship.
Prophet? Madman? Or philosopher? The mythological characters in William Blake's prophetic poetry present a conundrum for the reader who confronts these characters with the traditional literary expectations of a symbolicreading.Indeed, the vanguard of contemporary criticism would argue thatthe very complexity of Blake's mythology precludes an all inclusiveschemata.

Yet S. Foster Damon's A BLAKE DICTIONARY offers compellingtestament that there was methodology in Blake's madness. In addition toproviding a detailed enunciation of virtually every character in Blake'spoetry, Damon further offers an exposition of the major themes and symbolswhich Blake repeatedly returned to in his longer prophetic works. Alongwith both Northrop Frye's FEARFUL SYMMETRY and David Erdman's PROPHETAGAINST EMPIRE, Damon's meticulously cross-referenced dictionary is anessential reference work for anyone who dares delve into Blake's complexmythology. ... Read more

10. Illustrations of the Book of Job
by William Blake
Paperback: 52 Pages (2010-08-02)
list price: US$16.75 -- used & new: US$12.29
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Asin: 1176714996
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This scarce antiquarian book is a selection from Kessinger Publishing's Legacy Reprint Series. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment to protecting, preserving, and promoting the world's literature. Kessinger Publishing is the place to find hundreds of thousands of rare and hard-to-find books with something of interest for everyone! ... Read more

11. William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision
by Marsha Keith Schuchard
Paperback: 416 Pages (2008-04-29)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: 1594772118
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The secret and mystical sexual practices at the heart of William Blake’s creative and spiritual life

• Reveals newly discovered family documents connecting Blake’s mother and Blake himself to Moravian and Swedenborgian erotic and visionary experimentation

• Shows Blake had access to kabbalistic and tantric techniques of psychoerotic meditation, which used sexual arousal to achieve spiritual vision

William Blake (1757-1827) has long been treasured as an artist and poet whose work was born out of authentic spiritual vision. The acutely personal, almost otherworldly look of his artwork, combined with its archetypal casting and depth of emotion, transcend societal conventions and ordinary experience. But much of the overtly sexual work has been destroyed or altered, deemed too heretical by conservative elements among the mystic Moravians and Swedenborgians, whose influence on Blake has been uncovered only recently.

The author’s investigation into the radical psychosexual spiritual practices surrounding William Blake, which includes new archival discoveries of Blake family documents, reveals that Moravian and Swedenborgian erotic and visionary experimentation fueled much of Blake’s creative and spiritual life. Drawing also upon modern art restoration techniques, Marsha Keith Schuchard shows that Blake and his wife, Catherine, were influenced by secret kabbalistic and tantric rituals designed to transcend the bonds of social convention. Her exhaustive research provides a new context for understanding the mystical practices at the heart of Blake’s most radical beliefs about sexualized spirituality and its relation to visionary art. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Wealth of 17th-18th Century Esoteric Delights
One reviewer stated that the author of WILLIAM BLAKE, etc. focused too little on Blake & perhaps too much on other characters, events, spiritual practices & philosophies that were instrumental in forging Blake's unique artistic vision. The reviewer went on to state that there was too much of a gossipy, name-dropping nature in the book as well--enough so that the reviewer withheld a star from the over all evaluation. I think that reviewer had a legitimate point of view. In a sense WILLIAM BLAKE is not so much a traditional biography as an esoteric dissection & compilation of 17th-18th century European mysticism. The details are fascinating & I must admit that I am rather partial to the gossipy approach, so I had no problem with voting all 5 stars.

I learned a lot from reading this book--and it was entertaining as well.

For example, I had no idea how pervasive & influential secret societies such as the Freemasons & Rosicrucians were in this historic period. I was also unaware that so many non-Jews--as well as the close organizational interaction between Gentile & Jewish metaphysical groups so enthusiastically undertook the study of Kabbalah. Many esoteric concepts & events previously only intuitively glimpsed, fell perfectly in place for me. It certainly explains much of the 20th century Nazi antagonism to metaphysical individuals & groups in general.

Another fact that startled me was the practice of Christian eroticism by groups such as the Moravarians (never heard of them before reading BLAKE) and the Swedenborg Society. I was vaguely aware of Swedenborg's work, but was glad to go below the surface of my understanding. Even I--who felt I'd seen it all--was actually shocked by the overt religious sexuality of these Christian sects. You would think that this view of sex would have resulted in Blake illustrating sexually liberating images. However, to me many of his drawings seem a little dark & murky, with a pronounced sense of sexual restriction, even bondage. The antinomian or Left-hand Path of Tantric sexual practice in particular may well blow a few minds of sexually squeamish readers.

Other fascinating topics in WILLIAM BLAKE include the occult affiliations of the great womanizer Casanova, the mysterious courtier Cagliostro & his connection with the notorious "Diamond Necklace Affair" that heralded the first major ideological salvo against the French Monarchy, the influence of Gnosticism (the Sacred Marriage, Agape/Love Feast, etc.) and much more.

It became clear to me that the "scientific illuminism" promoted by these groups was the inspiration (from India via Swedenborg, Blake, etc.) for the 19th-20th century occultist philosophies of Eliphas Levi, Madame Blavatsky & Aleister Crowley and others. On an individual level, Blake's ideas regarding cultural transfusionist spirituality & development of a personal mythology over traditionalist religion are concepts that affirmed some of my own metaphysical speculation & experimentation. It all falls under the umbrella of what is esoterically known as The Great Work.

Anybody interested in William Blake or these parallel philosophies & disciplines will, I'm sure, find this book a sheer delight. It is an MUST for people involved in advanced Yoga and/or interested in the cultural origins of Thelema (Crowley's Western occultism). It's also a "must" for those studying comparative religion & mysticism.

Transcendental Magic: Its Doctrine and RitualThe Book of Splendours: The Inner Mysteries of Qabalism
The Secret Doctrine
The Book of the Law: Liber Al Vel Legis
Do What Thou Wilt: A Life of Aleister Crowley
777 And Other Qabalistic Writings of Aleister Crowley: Including Gematria & Sepher SephirothThe Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism
Emanuel Swedenborg: The Universal Human and Soul-Body Interaction (Classics of Western Spirituality)
Tantra: Path of Ecstasy
Mysteries of the Temple of Set (Inner Teachings of the Left Hand Path)

5-0 out of 5 stars New age libraries will find this a winner
William Blake's reputation as a poet and artist was born from his spiritual vision, and so William Blake's Sexual Path to Spiritual Vision offers up a different kind of investigation based on the psycho-sexual practices which surrounded this artist. Fueled by new archival discoveries of Blake family documents, her analysis probes spiritual paths and recreates sexual focuses of his work which were initially changed by his pious executor. New age libraries will find it a winner.

4-0 out of 5 stars A lot of this and that with some of Blake
I think I did learn more about the influences on Blake's thought. Anything that can help explicate his prophetic books is a good thing! However, it somehow seemed that Blake was less the focus of the book (especially in the first half) than the chronological minutiae of the Moravians, Swedenborgians, Kabbalists and Tantrics during the late 1700's/early 1800's. Not that the info was bad. A chart of the characters on one or two pages might have helped to keep track of them all.

At times it felt like a lot of gossiping and name-dropping without adding much to the substance of the discussion re: Blake. Also, occasionally, the author would pose a question, like "Could Blake have done so and so?" that made it sound like "Could Jamie Lynn's cover glamorize teen pregnancy?" Those kind of hypothetical questions just kinda clanged in an otherwise scholarly book, as gossipy and name-dropping as it was. Also, be prepared to read the words "antinomian" and "millenarian" more than enough times.

So, for what the author intended to do vs. what I got out of it, I figure four stars is fair enough ... Read more

12. William Blake on Self and Soul
by Laura Quinney
Hardcover: 216 Pages (2010-01-15)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$29.99
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Asin: 0674035240
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It has been clear from the beginning that William Blake was both a political radical and a radical psychologist, and in William Blake on Self and Soul Laura Quinney uses her sensitive, surprising readings of the poet to reveal his innovative ideas about the experience of subjectivity.

Blake’s central topic, Quinney shows us, is a contemporary one: the discomfiture of being a self or subject. The greater the insecurity of the “I” Blake believed, the more it tries to swell into a false but mighty “Selfhood.” And the larger the Selfhood bulks, the lonelier it grows. But why is that so? How is the illusion of “Selfhood” created? What damage does it do? How can one break its hold? These questions lead Blake to some of his most original thinking.

Quinney contends that Blake’s hostility toward empiricism and Enlightenment philosophy is based on a penetrating psychological critique: Blake demonstrates that the demystifying science of empiricism deepens the self’s incoherence to itself. Though Blake formulates a therapy for the bewilderment of the self, as he goes on he perceives greater and greater obstacles to the remaking of subjectivity. By showing us this progression, Quinney shows us a Blake for our time.

(20100702) ... Read more

13. The Stranger from Paradise: A Biography of William Blake (Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art)
by G. E. Bentley Jr.
Paperback: 632 Pages (2003-04-10)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$25.57
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Asin: 0300100302
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This fascinating and generously illustrated biography of William Blake, the great English artist, poet, and mystic, encompasses virtually everything that is known of his life and times. Often invoking the words of Blake’s own contemporaries, G. E. Bentley describes the struggles of Blake’s youth, his gradual embrace of the power of the spirit and visionary art and literature, and the serenity he achieved in his old age. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive
Apparently the result of a lifetime of investigation into the life and times of William Blake, this is the definitive biography. Blake's origins were modest, but his genius was not. He was also a religious dissenter of great originality and incredible intensity.The sheer volume of his poetic and graphic output is simply stupendous.He was constantly short of money, and he lacked much in the way of recognition during his lifetime, aside from a few loyal patrons. His is in some ways a rather sad story, but Blake seems never to have been sad himself; he died praising God and singing hymns. It is a safe bet that Bentley's biography will never be superseded.

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary and Moving
A terrific book. This is the best biography of Blake that I know of, and is also one of the most encouraging books I have read in years. Bentley sews together contemporary reports, journals from Blake's friends, and Blake's poems and drawings themselves to form a mysterious--although moving--picture of the man. Blake, upon moving back to the Thames, one day opened his window and reported that he saw the filthy river moving along 'like a gold bar.' From his early years, he claimed to have visions of fairies and angels, and later in life even was able to see William Wallace and Satan (the sketches are included in the book). I know of nothing like Blake, and would give this outstanding biography of him six stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars Body Electric
This is a very good, straight-forward biography of a mysterious man. Anyone curious about Blake should read it. People who love Blake will still love him, their love enhanced by the very clear context given to the events of his life. Of the visions that are of course the oddest thing about Blake, at least to the vast majority of us who don't have them, the author is neutral. You can't really know. I'm personally for rather than against visionaries even if they are delusional, just because this is indeed the age of fiberglass. Someone said of Blake that he was cracked, but the Light came through the crack. I like to believe he was visited by Milton, Michaelangelo and William Wallace, etc., and that he saw trees full of angels. At the same time, there is a question about the nature of inspiration. Once established, Blake's style in poetry and painting never changed much, only the subjects changed: so the various spirits did nothing in the way of altering his method, nor did they alter his views much, though he seems to have mellowed somewhat. He seems to have been a channel for one Spirit who changed form.There are other artists who seem to me to have represented the world beyond in a more profound way: Bach, Milton, Michaelangelo, Wordsworth for example. And of course, Shakespeare seems to have had a 100 people's combined understanding of how life is. And there are artists, more like us, who seemed to have developed as life progressed.

Still, he was one of the men who lived for and frequently in the electric blessing that changes everything, that power, gift, the angels, like Cupid, seem to bestow as they choose. Blake was a vehicle.

He was the great Outsider artist. He was a Hero of poor England. Thank God for Blake who said, "I live in a hole here, but God has a beautiful mansion for me elsewhere." He was authentic, poor and a real man. Everyone should know how he died singing Hallelujahs and hymns of praise.

5-0 out of 5 stars Why Blake Matters
This biography concentrates too much on Blake's occupation as an engraver and glosses over his reputation as a poet and visionary. Such a bluntly factual, objective account of Blake seems out of keeping with his spiritual enthusiasm and disdain for the factual (i.e. the physical world). But this book did help me develop an appreciation for Blake. The "Songs of Innocence and of Experience" did not impress me because they seemed to be the epitome of maudlin Christian sentimentality. However, Bentley's biography makes it clear that Blake was not a conventional Christian. I was impressed by the importance Blake placed on the imagination, creativity, and the arts as the true expressions of spirituality and the sublime. I also admire Blake's spirited defense of imagination and the Poetic Genius.

If Blake were alive today I think he would rant against the scholars rather than Empire. The scholars have laid claim to the poet's place in society and the only empire that exists today is the academic empire. Just look at the way a college campus expands and swallows up all the property around itself! It is the scholars who attack men of inspiration and genius because they need to promote poetry as something that can be taught and explicated.

Blake does seem mad when he talks about speaking with angels and spirits but he probably did possess the faculty of a visionary imagination which caused him to express such reverence for the world of imagination, even to the extent of preferring it to the natural world. It reminds me of a quote from Rimbaud, "I came to find my mind's disorder sacred".

5-0 out of 5 stars Bentley's Generous Act
The scholarship that works through this book is obviously one of love and devotion of many many years. Bentley's sorting out of events in Blake's life is amazingly well researched - it is the first Blake biography that does not have that usual blur of focus that leaves one more mystified than enlightened.Blake's contemporaries, friends, enemies, patrons, etc. are all given voice through their own extant letters, articles . .- this contextualizes him beautifully and clears the field of critical debris that has grown out over the centuries. In fact, it is Bentley's sober critical eye (of fairness) which is so refreshing - his sense of balance is impeccable. Only a lifetime lover of Blake could hit so consistently true tones.But if you're arriving to this book looking for critical scholarship of the work and myth than you're walking through the wrong door. This book is not about the minutae of the work (see Northrop Frye for that) - it assumes already that one is also a lover and "understander" of the work. This book is about the man - written and informed, of course, by the man's work, but is a book about Blake's life - not a treatise on Urthona. Yes, I recommend this book. Walk on in and stroll around. ... Read more

14. Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience
by William Blake, Richard Holmes
Hardcover: 64 Pages (2007-03-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$10.05
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Asin: 1854377299
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This beautiful, hardcover gift edition allows Blake to communicate with his readers as he intended, reproducing his illuminations and lettering from the finest existing example of the original. In this way readers can experience the mystery and beauty of Blake’s poems as he created them. This unique edition is essential for those who love Blake’s work, and also offers an ideal entrance into his visionary world for those encountering him for the first time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent edition
A very high-quality hardback edition, with thick paper, sewn binding, and fine, full-size reproductions of Blake's illustrations from the excellent Cambridge originals. Originals vary a good deal; compare these with the muddy ones used in the Oxford edition. Each illustration faces the associated poem, the only sensible layout, but something the Oxford edition does not do, for some reason. The introductory notes by Richard Holmes are brief, but extremely good.

All that's lacking are detailed explanatory notes for the individual poems, but those are available on web and elsewhere, and they aren't much needed for these poems in any case.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Little Disappointing
Enjoyed the content, but the book appears to have been cheaply printed. It took away from the beauty of Blake's poetry. ... Read more

15. The Letters
by William Blake
 Hardcover: 264 Pages (1980-10)

Isbn: 0198126549
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16. Songs of Innocence and Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, 1789-1794 (Oxford Paperbacks)
by William Blake
Paperback: 226 Pages (1977-10-27)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$5.97
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Asin: 0192810898
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The text of each poem is given in letterpress on the page facing the color plate, and a brief commentary by Sir Geoffrey Keynes on each poem follows. It is printed on paper especially manufactured to match the tint of that used by Blake. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars Iluminated books, beautifully reprinted
William Blake: The Complete Illuminated BooksBlake's Songs of Innocence and ExperienceBlake]]The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: A Facsimile in Full ColorBeautiful, affordable copies of William Blake's originals.

5-0 out of 5 stars gem
Gorgeous poetry and illustrations by Blake. A must have for your library and a treasure to share with your children.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Other Blake
Sorry, all, I'm not much of a poetry fan. I like "Tyger," "Garden of Love," and a few others, but I can't add to the scholarship on his verse.

I am, however, fascinated by his use of relief etching in creating these pages. It's a rare process even now, and was revealed to Blake in a vision (plus a lot of painstaking experimentation). It's the process by which he shaped each letter, reversed, in the printing plate, plus much of the 'illumination' on each page.

The preface is vague and the reproduced images are hard to read, but Blake printed the lettering and line work on each page, then hand-decorated with watercolors. The preface says that Blake went on to create color printing processes, but what they were or whether they're used here is not explicit. I tend to think not, unless a few pages were printed with one or two more plates to emphasize the dark areas. If these illustrations really are true size, then inking on the plate would have been tedious, imprecise, and would not have given the results seen here.

There's much to say about his illustration. That includes an odd conflict, between figures fully drawn even under clothing and the androgyny or sexlessness of so many, an ambiguity that appears in the poems as well. I'll leave that commentary to others, though. The thing that impresses me about these editions is their artistic intensity. Each individual copy of the book was printed and decorated on demand, for a specific buyer. Blake had full control of every part of the creation, the words, images, and reproduction.

It is a rare mind that can master visual and verbal arts, both, then the craft of creating the book that carries them. Perhaps I miss parts of the presentation, but I very much admire the parts that I understand. Four stars because better reproduction would have served his visual art and craft much better.


5-0 out of 5 stars poems of perspective from childhood and adulthood
William Blake is known for some very mystical hard-to-understand poetry, but his "Songs of Innocence" and "Songs of Experience" is very different from that other work. Here in beautiful, almost child-like simplicity, he describes happy things like childhood and purity, as well as the darker realities of corruption and disillusionment. These poems are always spiritual and lyrical, full of heart and soul. The style is simple, yes, but the words and metaphors are profound and so is the wisdom, like in "The Human Abstract":

Pity would be no more
If we did not make somebody poor;
And mercy no more could be
If all were as happy as we.

David Rehak
author of "Poems From My Bleeding Heart"

5-0 out of 5 stars The Oxford Paperbacks edition is superb
There are larger, more luxurious graphical editions of Blake's two most popular works but the Oxford SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND OF EXPERIENCE is perhaps the most affordable and convenient.

After a short introductory piece which makes the reader expect a pastoral mood, SONGS OF INNOCENCE opens with "The Shepherd", and the reader is immediately acquainted with Blake's style: deceptively simple, but filled with metaphor and allusion. Many of the poems speak of the solace of Christianity, but Blake shows a more universal and tolerant tranquility found through appreciation of simple human virtues. In "The Divine Image", he writes: "And all must love the human form, / in heathen, turk, or jew. / Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell, / there God is dwelling too."

Even within SONGS OF EXPERIENCE, the most pessimistic and cynical half, Blake maintains a his childlike style in order to bring the truth of human experience to anyone at all, young and old. In "A Poison Tree" he writes: "I was angry with my friend: / I told my wrath, my wrath did end. / I was angry with my foe: / I told it not, my wrath did grow", concisely summarising the effects of pride and ill-will on one's soul.

Blake was by profession an engraver, and his engravings for SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE are so closely bound to the text of the poems that a photocopy edition is really the only way to enjoy the poems as they were meant. In this paperback edition, the original engraving can be seen along side a typeset text, presented in a size large enough that the words can be relatively easily made out and, perhaps more importantly, the reader can see Blake's mythological characters. These personages, such as Urizen and Lothos, are key to understanding Blake's larger metaphysical work, for which the Songs present a good introduction.

This edition is especially valuable as it contains a photocopy of the engraving of "A Divine Image", a poem intended for SONGS OF EXPERIENCE which Blake subsequently left out because of its savage pessimism. The poem survives on an uncolored plate which is not found within many collections of the poet's work.

If you are intrigued by poets who transcend mere beautiful words to present a complete worldview, Blake is certainly worth reading. The Oxford Paperbacks edition is, in my opinion, the best place to get started with this deep and tricky, but fulfilling and fascinating poet. ... Read more

17. The Book of Urizen: A Facsimile in Full Color
by William Blake
Paperback: 48 Pages (1997-07-09)
list price: US$5.95 -- used & new: US$1.98
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Asin: 0486298019
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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One of Blake’s most interesting and powerful creations—a parody of the book of Genesis in which the righteous figure of God is replaced by that of Urizen, the "dark power." Included are 27 hand-colored plates rich in energy and monumental grandeur, along with a printed transcription of the poem.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

3-0 out of 5 stars Glued binding
I was disappointed to find that this book is not "A Dover Book designed for years of use," like my old Dover copy of Songs of Innocence, which has a sewn binding and opens flat. This Book of Urizen will not open flat without breaking. The reproductions are very good, though.

I would like to see an edition of Blake with the text in the plates sharpened up so that we can actually read it. I wonder if anyone will ever dare to undertake that task.

5-0 out of 5 stars Blake's universal origins similar to those of Gnostics
Anyone else notice the parallels between Blake's illuminated text and the universal origins described in the recently uncovered scrolls contained in the Nag Hammadi Library, the ones that are the oldest origional records ofthe words of Jesus Christ in the Secret Book of James? From the ignorantsplitting from the undescribable origional of the lesser and jealous"God" (arguably the Old Testament's Jehova) to the metaphor ofthe chain, it seems as if they could be mirror images. The interesting partis that the Nag Hammadi library was discovered in 1947- the same year theDead Sea Scrolls were found-- and has been dated back to approximately 50AD. Almost all other Gnostic writings had long been destroyed by the earlyChurch. Read into this what you may, but Blake most probably never readthis particular text. Personally, I take this as proof of at leastauthenticity, and moreover that Blake was in greater alignment, more likeChrist, if you will, than most humans so far. I bet he could make a killersalad.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible depiction of the rise of the human body
Blake's "The [First] Book of Urizen" is an incredible poetical and visual depiction of the rise of the flesh and the implications of being bound to our bodies. Particulalry interesting because the book manages todepict an occurance that, according to Blake himself, is impossible todescribe. The use of the metaphorical tool of a mythology by the book comesas close as one could expect from a peice of writing to achieving thisdepiction (the rest, appropriately enough, is up to our imagination). It isthis undertaking of what seems to be an impossible task (that of attemptingto represent the metaphysical through the physical) that shows this poem'sbravery.

3-0 out of 5 stars Excellent reproduction of color plates and text
A small book but of good value. Very useful to see the full color plates that Blake had designed along with the text. The combination of the two increased my enjoyment of the work. The poetry is a bit obtuse and requires multiple readings to really extract what Blake was saying. ... Read more

18. Poems & Prophecies
by William Blake
Paperback: 472 Pages (2006-01-01)
list price: US$35.99 -- used & new: US$33.70
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Asin: 1406791911
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This volume, introduced by Max Plowman, who edited the selection, consists first of works printed and illustrated by Blake among these are: Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience, The Book of Thel, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Milton, a poem in two books, Jerusalem, and a facsimile reproduction in full of The Gates of Paradise, the little booklet of engravings about 1820. Then the most important of the works that remain in manuscripts such as those of Pickering and Rossetti, including The Last Judgement, The Everlasting Gospel, and nearly forty other poems from Blake's own manuscript book. Lastly the Poetical Sketches, published in 1783 by Blake's friends, are added in full. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Poet Prophet of England
When it finally came time to add a volume of Blake to my permanent library I choose this excellent selection from the Everyman's Library. Like the entire collection it is printed in a classic typeface on acid-free, cream wove paper with a sewn full cloth binding. It also comes with a crystal cover over the half-jacket. This is a book that will last several lifetimes.

I am not scholar enough to know if this is a complete compilation of the poet's work. However, I have not found it wanting. All the major works such as the Songs of Innocence and Experience, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, America, Europe, The book of Urizen, Milton, Jerusalem, etc., are here; along with a large collection of manuscript fragments and poetical sketches. Moreover there is an informed biographical introduction and a detailed chronology of the author's life compared to the literary context of the time and to historical events. There are also about twenty plates of the artist's own illustrations of his works.

One brief note on interpreting the work of this visionary mystic: the four Zoas correspond to Jung's four functions. Urison equals reason and law, Orc equals feeling, Tharmas equals sensing, while Los equals intuition and the visionary.

I've heard Blake dismissed as a semi-literate eccentric by some. They have obviously never actually read the man. There are elements of Plato, Plotinus, the Hermetica, the Bhagavad Ghita, the Cabbala, as well as many other mythologies and theologies, imbedded in these works- and in the true spirit of their respective times and cultures.

It is no wonder that Bucke lists him as one of the indisputable cases of Cosmic Consciousness. ... Read more

19. The Illuminated Blake: William Blake's Complete Illuminated Works with a Plate-by-Plate Commentary
by David V. Erdman
Paperback: 416 Pages (1992-09-11)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$16.27
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Asin: 0486272346
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
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Monumental study, compiled and annotated by one of world’s foremost Blake scholars, meticulously reproduces poet/artist’s singular attempt to achieve the perfect union of painting and poetry. Erudite, penetrating analysis of such Blakean masterpieces as The Book of Thel, Songs of Innocence and of Experience, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, The Song of Los, other works. Required reading—and viewing—for students and scholars of Blake.
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Customer Reviews (7)

1-0 out of 5 stars VERY disappointing!Images in Black & White!!
I wish I would have read a few reviews before purchasing this.There was nothing in the description or in the material available from the "Look Inside" feature that indicated the "meticulously reproduced plates" (quote from the back cover) were presented in black and white.

Not only is the lack of color a negative, but the quality of the b&w reproductions is probably only a 7 out of 10.Further, the plate-by-plate commentary includes mention of colors in the plates which the reader will not be able to observe in the b&w reproductions presented.Kind of pointless and not very "illuminating".

1-0 out of 5 stars Ugh.
I should have known this would have black and white pics on cheap paper. It's inexpensive and looks it. Okay for the money but I don't recommend it.

1-0 out of 5 stars black and white? dont buy it!
If you want to read Blake's poems, pick up a cheap paperback copy of his complete works. If you want to see his original vision as he created it in his masterful, splendid prints, get "The Complete Illuminated Works"- but NOT this edition! Referring to Blake's exceptional artwork, a commentator wrote, "people who think they know Blake's poetry are only getting half- or rather none- of the picture". This remains true if the picture has no color.

The more recent Thames & Hudson edition (2001) includes everything in here, but in color. It's more expensive but that is well worth it- like I said, if you're willing to spend extra money to have the art (when you could get everything he wrote for just a few bucks), you might as well spring for it as it WAS- in color! A slight drawback is you don't get David V. Erdman's plate-by-plate commentaries, which are considered by some to be essential. You do, however, get other info, and the prints are much nicer. A REAL Blake nut will have both. By the way- sometimes it's hard to read the poetry contained on the plates (in EITHER book, but especially this one), so you should get a regular text of the poems as well if you want to study them; an annotated text is even better.

The importance of color cannot be emphasized- abandon this out-of-date cheap version for the real deal, the 2001 Thames & Hudson edition.

3-0 out of 5 stars Tries to describe the pictures, not the words
David W. Erdman has managed to describe the details in Blake's drawings, for William Blake's Complete Illuminated Works with a Plate-by-Plate Commentary, but the text which is the main feature of most of Blake's plates is sometimes faint, and occasionally unclear.Due to the comment in BLAKE AND SWEDENBORG, on the source of its subtitle, Opposition Is True Friendship, about plate 20 of Blake's MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL, that:

"beneath this `reptile of the mind,' partially obscured by Blake's thick patina of watercolor pigments in several copies of this hand-painted book, is Blake's final comment on his battle with Swedenborg's angelic alter ego:

Opposition is true Friendship."(Harvey F. Bellin, BLAKE AND SWEDENBORG, p. 38).

The detail which is shown on page 38 of BLAKE AND SWEDENBORG looks more like "Opposition is True !"

Page 117 of Erdman's THE ILLUMINATED BLAKE has a copy of Plate 20, copy I, which hardly even shows the T of True, and a small detail from Copy E with the words "you whose works" just before the last line "are only Analytics," so the little extra squiggle that it provides might be a subliminal comment by Blake on those who think we have the power to explain anything.The drawing of the serpent is ambiguous enough that Erdman's comment, "In I the artist has carelessly colored the angular wave seen through the first loop as though it were part of the serpent's body," (p. 117) might be an indication that Blake intended to show a bit of the tail of the serpent close to the serpent's head, symbolic of logic biting its own tail, or arguments which are circular in nature.As a wave, it looks more like the serpent than the other waves, though the black and white illustrations in both books are not entirely clear, Erdman's book has better shades of gray.

Comparing plates of "The Divine Image," SONGS 18g on page 59 in Erdman's book, with the copy on page 88 of BLAKE AND SWEDENBORG, Erdman's is clearer, but page 88 of BLAKE AND SWEDENBORG also prints the words ("To Mercy, Pity, Peace and Love") alongside the illustration, so it is easier to read.Erdman's attempts to explain the figures make this plate more interesting, mentioning Lazarus? Adam? Eve? and Jacob's ladder.

There is a "Holy Thursday" from Innocence, SONGS 19I on page 60, and a "Holy Thursday" from Experience, SONGS 33I on page 75.The big disappointment is that "The Tyger," SONGS 42I on page 84 is so difficult to read.I thought that I might remember that poem, but hardly well enough to read it in this book.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Illuminated Blake
The only possible complaints that one could have with this book are 1)there is no color reproduction and 2)it is a softcover.However these same factors contribute to the wonderfully low price as a hardcover,full-color reproduction would bring it into the price range of thePrinceton Blake.I must make a reference to one of the other reviews andsay that in contradiction to the reader from Portugal's review this editionDOES contain all the Illuminated works with the exception of the one pagework The Laocoon which is not exactly one of the illuminated works. Erdman's commentary is excellent, as is to be expected from one of thethree major Blake scholars of the twentieth century. This commentary makesthe book a value even if one already owns the Princeton series. ... Read more

20. The Cambridge Companion to William Blake (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
Hardcover: 326 Pages (2003-02-17)
list price: US$90.00 -- used & new: US$77.51
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521781477
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A poet, painter, and engraver, William Blake died in 1827 in obscurity. Yet he has become one of the most anthologized writers in English and one of the most collected British artists. His urge to create masterpieces of revelation has left complex (and sometimes bizarre) works of written and visual art. The essays in this Companion and a chronology, guides to further reading, and glossary of Blake's terms identify the key points of departure into Blake's diverse world. ... Read more

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