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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all it's still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Songs of Innocence and Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, 1789-1794 (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – October 27, 1977

4.2 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Masterpieces of English lyric poetry, written and illustrated by William Blake. Songs of Innocence, published in 1789, was Blake's first great demonstration of "illuminated printing," his unique technique of publishing both text and hand-colored illustration together. The rhythmic subtlety and delicate beauty of both his lyrics and his designs created rare harmony on his pages. The poems transformed his era's street ballads and rhymes for children into some of the purest lyrics in the English language. In 1794 Blake published Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. It contained a slightly rearranged version of Songs of Innocence with the addition of Songs of Experience. The poems reflect Blake's views that experience brings the individual into conflict with rules, moralism, and repression; as a result, the songs of experience are bitter, ironic replies to those of the earlier volume. The Lamb is the key symbol of Innocence; in Experience its rival image is the Tyger, the embodiment of energy, strength, lust, and aggression. See also THE TYGER. -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

About the Author

Blake was a poet, painter, engraver and mystic. After
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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Paperbacks
  • Paperback: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First US Paperback edition (October 27, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192810898
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192810892
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 0.6 x 5.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #159,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Other Amazon users may be familiar with the Amazon.com practice of posting the Editorial reviews from a SIMILAR product and adding marginal and easy-to-overlook footnotes stating that the posted reviews actually refer to an "alternate paperback edition." I was not aware of the practice before purchasing this book, but aside from that there is no twin footnote floating around the Customer Reviews section below the Editorials to tell you that the reviews provided are from a different book as well, nor can you see what book is ACTUALLY being reviewed unless you leave the book's page and go to See All. Most of the reviews are for this book:

Songs of Innocence and Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul, 1789-1794 (Worlds Classics) [Paperback] William Blake (Author, Illustrator), Sir Geoffrey Keynes (Introduction) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0192810898/ref=dp_proddesc_2?ie=UTF8&n=283155

Why post reviews of a book that the reviews are not for, on its own page? That is not only confusing, but misleading. The book I bought and received is the one with a portrait of Blake on the cover, and its ISBN is 97816119492998--which is not the ISBN posted in Amazon.com's Product Details section, as of June 1, 2012. Amazon lists it as xxxxxxxxxx2997.

There are NO illustrations in this edition. In fact, there isn't any publisher information beyond "Printed in the USA" on the bottom of the first page after the cover. I have not read this book, and am not familiar enough with Blake's work to be able to determine off the cuff if there are any errors or typos. I am assuming that if you only want the poetry of Songs of Innocence and Experience, than it is probably fine--and yes, most likely free of errors/typos.
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William Blake is one of the giants of poetry. He is often overlooked because of the obliqueness of many of his poems. But this affordable (read: cheap) collection of poems is well worth the price of admission. Most of Blakes most famous and well loved poems are included in this volume. Most of us had to read at least a couple of these poems in school. The Tyger still stands as one of the great poems of the English language. The Fly, The Lamb, Children of a Future Age, London and Ah, Sunflower are all included here. These are some of the most beautiful poems ever written. Even if you struggle to understand the meaning, the sheer beauty and music of the verses can still carry you away. Anyone interested in poetry needs to read these poems. It is among the best ever written.
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To begin with, it can be helpful to distinguish between "aesthetic" worldly poets/musicians and "vatic"/prophetic artists. Keats and Shakespeare, Ellington and Bill Evans belong in the first category; Shelley and Milton (and, of course, Dante) along with John Coltrane and Sun Ra belong in the second.

Blake is the foremost representative of the latter group--the bards (Milton was his hero; America's Ezra Pound his foremost descendant). Of all the so-called "Romantic" poets, he is in many respects the most atypical. Time, its passing, its presence as "personal memory," specific referents to particular places, the fleshing-out of human figures, whether upper or lower class--all this is of little interest to the visionary prophet written off as "crazy" during his life-time, eventually canonized by the Beatniks in the 1950s, and finally admitted to respectable academia. Earthly phenomena are of little interest to him because, frankly, they have no status in reality. I deliberately steer students away from his graphic art, because its symbolic nature is poorly understood by a generation brought up on images that glorify the material world (if the emphasis isn't on the "real," it's on the surreal or "hyper-real"--but the real with which today's readers identify is anything but the spiritual cosmos that Blake finds everywhere, whether a tiger or a grain of sand. (Pity his wife, who understandably had little patience with him.) More often than not, Blake's pictures nowadays detract from, rather than support, the poetry.
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I was recently lucky to see the Gutenburg to Gone With the Wind Exhibit in Austin, Texas recently. At that marvelous exhibit I got to see one of Blake's original editions of Songs of Innocence. After that, I (of course) had to find a copy with the amazing poems and the amazing artwork by Blake. This edition satisfied both criteria well. First of all, the poems are brilliant. Everybody has read such works as "Little Boy Lost," "Little Boy Found," "The Shepherd," "The Lamb," and "The Tyger." These poems are just as good as they are made out to be. Each poem is excrutiatingly simple (in the style of children's verse), and each has such depth. The artwork is all in this edition, too, and it is fabulous. The colors are exactly like those of Blake's. I really think that the poems should never be read without Blake's engravings. This is a marvelous book for poetry lovers to own. It is high quality and affordable. Any fan of Blake's should own this book.
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