Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Songs of Innocence and of Experience

By William Blake; Robert N. Essick (Editor)

Huntington Library Press, Hardcover, 9780873282369, 185pp.

Publication Date: April 2008

"Songs of Innocence and of Experience "are Blake's most familiar poems. A few examples, such as "The Tyger" and "The Chimney Sweeper," frequently appear in anthologies of English literature, in which the poems are often printed without Blake's evocative engravings. But Blake made collections of his "Songs, "first the "Innocence "group alone in 1789, and then "Experience "in 1794, combining the two in that year to make up a single volume.
This facsimile edition is based on a unique copy in the collection of the Huntington Library that shows how Blake used coloring style and pen and ink additions to make a unified book out of fifty-four individual engravings. Based on new digital photography, this edition also captures the designs and coloring as closely as possible. The plates are followed by a transcription of the poems.
Robert N. Essick's commentary includes a brief biography of Blake and interprets each poem in dialogue with the other "Songs. "Essick also explores the political and historical contexts of the poems. Newcomers to Blake will find a thorough grounding in his unusual art and language, while experts will encounter fresh discoveries.

About the Author
Stanley Kunitz was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1905 and educated at Harvard University. His numerous honors include the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, and designation as State Poet of New York. He has edited the Yale Series of Younger Poets, served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress, and taught for many years in the graduate writing program at Columbia University. He is president of Poets House, New York, a founding father of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and a Senior Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts. Recent publications include "The Poems of Stanley Kunitz"1928-1978 ("Atlantic, " 1979), "Next-to-Last Things: New Poems and Essays" ("Atlantic, " 1985), and "Passing Through: The Later Poems, New and Selected" ("Norton, " 1995) for which he was awarded the 1995 National Book Award for Poetry.

Mark Crosby is the Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Queen's University, Belfast. Robert N. Essick, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of English at the University of California, Riverside, is the author of numerous books on William Blake.