Focusing on the "Songs of Innocence and Experience", this book uses close analysis and interpretation of individual poems to build the reader's confidence when approaching Blake's lyrics and meeting his thought.
Willaim Blake's illuminated poems and prophecies were ignored in his own time. Now, however, the Songs of Innocence and Experience is an established collection of lyrics, and Blake's extraordinary 'prophetic books' are widely admired and studied. The first part of this book leads the reader into the Songs of Innocence and Experience via detailed analysis of individual poems and an informative discussion of the designs on Blake's illuminated plates. The analyses feed further exploration of Blake's work and lead on to readings of extracts from the 'prophetic books'. Marsh encourages a focus on the power and beauty of Blake's poetry, as well as the audacity of his ideas. Part Two provides the background information you need as a student of Blake. There is an account of his life, and a discusssion of his place as a contemporary of the Romantic English poets, together with an overview of criticism of his work. This book does not side-step the complexity of his works: it challenges you to enjoy reading and exploring Blake's poems and ideas for yourself, and its explanations and advice encourage you to approach these great works with a feeling of confident excitement.