William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience
A Student's Guide
In this book, aimed at A Level and undergraduate students, Brendan Cooper explores the subtleties and contradictions of the Songs, avoiding formulaic readings by asking key questions about Blake’s life and art. What are the Songs about? What does Blake mean by «Innocence» and «Experience»? Why are they called «Songs»? Was Blake a genius, or a madman?
This engaging and accessible introduction to Blake’s work will help students to navigate its complexities and develop their own critical responses to the text.
Table Of Contents
- About the author(s)/editor(s)
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- List of Figures
- 1 Introduction
- 2 What Are the Songs About?
- 3 The Meaning of “Innocence” in the Songs
- 4 The Meaning of “Experience” in the Songs
- 5 Nature and the Pastoral
- 6 The Role of Childhood
- 7 Blake’s Visual Images
- 8 Why Are They Called “Songs”?
- 9 Could Blake Spell?
- 10 Was Blake a Romantic Poet?
- 11 Was Blake a Genius or a Madman?
- (i) Blake and Drugs
- (ii) Blake’s Compositional Methods
- (iii) Blake’s Mythology
- Four Zoas
- Har and Heva
- (iv) The “Problem Songs”
- “The Little Girl Lost” & “The Little Girl Found”
- “The Voice of the Ancient Bard”
- “To Tirzah”
- “A Divine Image”
- (v) What Were Blake’s Visions?
- (vi) Musicians Inspired by Blake
- Hubert Parry
- Benjamin Britten
- Jim Morrison
- Van Morrison
- William Bolcom
- Jah Wobble
- Patti Smith
- Bruce Dickinson
- Richard Ashcroft
- Pete Doherty
- (vii) Blake on His Own Work
- (viii) Ten Facts About William Blake
- (ix) Blake on Film
- Mean Streets, dir. Martin Scorsese (1973)
- Blade Runner, dir. Ridley Scott (1982)
- Dead Man, dir. Jim Jarmusch (1995)
- Red Dragon, dir. Brett Ratner (2002)
I would like to begin by thanking James O’Brien, poet, sage, and friend, for his wisdom and guidance in early stages of this project, and his invaluable input on the manuscript.
I am very grateful to Christabel Scaife and Emma Clarke at Peter Lang for their help and support in shepherding this study towards publication. I would also like to thank the Yale Center for British Art for providing the images used here.
All inspiration endlessly flows from my two daughters, Manon and Hermione.
This book is for Nouska, my light in the dark, my joy with silken twine.
1757 William Blake born at 28 Broad Street, Westminster, 28 November.
- XIV, 108
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Softcover)
- Publication date
- 2017 (August)
- William Blake English literature Poetry Study guide
- Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2017. XIV, 108 pp., 14 coloured ill., 30 b/w ill.