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William Blake: The Complete Illuminated Books Paperback – April, 2001
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Blake wasn't shy about the importance of his own work. In a letter he described "Milton" as "the Grandest Poem this World Contains". But these immense, unique hand-engraved, hand-coloured cosmic-spiritual epics found no buyers in Blake's own lifetime. Only one coloured copy of "Jerusalem" is known to exist.
The Illuminated Books have been reproduced in colour before, but this is the first time all the plates have been printed full-size in a single book. Blake is fascinating even in black-and-white, but to read these books in the form intended means entering a new world. By depicting spiritual principles as People, Blake shows us the meaning of all ancient gods.
After the lyrics of the "Songs of Innocence and "Songs of Experience", the best place to start is the "Book of Thel", then the "Visions of the Daughters of Albion". When reading the long books, a plain text copy of the "Complete Poems" will come in handy: difficulty in reading Blake's graceful orange script for "Jerusalem" may be one difficulty too many. The remaining shorter books, with their anguished mythical narratives, rely more than the others on their illustrations, printed as if with fire, rust and soot: images of an age of Revolution.Read more ›
1. Most of the facsimiles are too small, and could have been larger. Should I assume this was to cut costs for the publisher? An exception is (thank God) Jerusalem. Why is songs of Innocence and of Experience so tiny? Whatever the dimensions of the original plates, I think they could have benefited from being scanned hi-res and filling up the page.
2. The book lacks a glossary of names and terms. If you don't understand the archetypes behind the idiosyncratic names Blake frequently drops (Los, Orc, Urizen, Albion, etc.), Blake's already complex and multi-layered poetry is truly and fully over your head! At least the references to the Bible and to the deistic thought of Blake's day are not lost on me, but you can't assume that about everyone. Here is one, if you need it: [...]
Other than that, fabulous and well worth the money!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Astoundingly beautiful book of classic poems and accompanying art. Notable because the format is perfect. The original folios are accompanied by complete text. Very classy book.Published 3 months ago by Robert A. Hill
The prints are very small with huge whites boarders.....very poorly laid out in my opinion.
Some other books of Blakes work I have bought were much more lit.
Indeed, work by William Blake diverse and brilliant. He was an extraordinary artist and poet. I believe that his brilliant mind superior to the intellect of his contemporaries. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Jordan Davis
this large book has poorly reproduced images in pale, lifeless color. i cant recommend it.Published 16 months ago by will crow
This compilation is beautiful, large, and exactly what you would hope it to be! I've had friends complain about the size of their reproductions making Blake's handwriting more... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Brian Lowry
A gift for my daughter in law who loves it. Very complete and beautiful.Published 19 months ago by pj
Really wanted to love this but I just couldn't. It was like a book of photocopies of Blake's works. Some of the illustrations with handwritten words I couldn't really read and... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Melissa Munding