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Songs of Innocence and of Experience

4.2 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1420925807
ISBN-10: 1420925806
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Blake was an English poet, artist and illustrator. Born in London in 1757, Blake had a strongly religious upbringing and was encouraged to read and study the Bible by his devout Christian mother. In his youth, he earned an apprenticeship as an engraver, and he made a living throughout his life carving woodblock illustrations for the printing press. Blake published his first book of poetry, Poetical Sketches circa 1783, and soon fell in with some of the most famous artists and intellectuals of the time, including Joseph Priestly, Mary Wollstonecraft and Thomas Paine. Throughout his life, Blake wrote and illustrated many books of poetry, despite the fact that his works, often considered too radical or irreligious, went largely unrecognized during his lifetime. Now Blake's books of poetry and illustrations, including Songs of Innocence and Experience and Jerusalem, are considered some of the seminal texts of the Romantics movement. Blake died in 1827, and is buried in an unmarked grave in the Dissenter's graveyard in Bunhill Fields. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Both the student and connoisseur of the classics will enjoy this series of inexpensive audiobooks, each of which includes a Dover-Thrift edition of the text. The newcomer to classic poetry and prose, in particular, may experience in their spoken form an awakening to the beauty and power of these literary masters. It's hard to imagine a better introduction to William Blake's poetry than stage actors Brian Murray's and Suzanne Toren's audio rendition of SONGS OF INNOCENCE AND EXPERIENCE. Their alternating readings of Songs of Innocence vibrate with the reverence of Blake's vision of childhood as paradise lost; in Songs of Experience one fully senses Blake's later disillusion. The two books provide counterpoint to each other, an effect enhanced by the use of male and female readers. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 56 pages
  • Publisher: Digireads.com (January 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1420925806
  • ISBN-13: 978-1420925807
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,265,493 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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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