Show Less
Restricted access

William Blake's Songs of Innocence and of Experience

A Student's Guide

Brendan Cooper

William Blake (1757–1827) is one of the most significant figures in the history of English poetry. He is also one of the most mysterious, most challenging, and most frequently misunderstood. His Songs of Innocence and of Experience, on the surface so simple, are laden with mysteries that seem to deepen on every reading.

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.

Show Summary Details
Restricted access



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.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.