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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.

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Extract

Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the Deutsche Nationalbibliografie; detailed bibliographic data is available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de.

A catalogue record for this book is available from The British Library.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2017941148

Cover image: “The Angel” (Bentley Copy F, Plate 40) and “Holy Thursday” (Bentley Copy F, Plate 38), Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

Cover design: Peter Lang Ltd.

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