The personal issues with which he wrestled seemed to him to be also the salient problems of human life. They include questions of the proper place of intellectual control in the personality, the place of impulse, the relations between authority and those it controls (and therefore between elders and children), the relations of the sexes, the folly of moral generalities (one law for the lion and the ox), the poison of jealousy, and the overwhelming importance of forgiveness. Characterized by an extraordinarily imaginative language and a forcefulness and suppleness of rhythms, Blake's poetry possesses a remarkable muscularity and exuberance. Even at its most difficult it excites, while never losing contact with the ordinary realities of life. This volume contains all Blake's poetry with full annotation and a glossary of proper names.
One of the great Enlgish Romantic poets, William Blake was also an artist, mystic, and visionary. His work ranges from the deceptively simple and lyrical Songs of Innocence and their counterpoint Experiencewhich juxtapose poems such as "The Lamb" and "The Tyger," and "The Blossom" and "The Sick Rose"to highly elaborate, apocalyptic works, such as The Four Zoas, Milton and Jerusalem. Throughout his life Blake drew on a rich heritage of philosophy, religion and myth, to create a poetic worlds illuminated by his spiritual and revolutionary beliefs that have fascinated, intrigued and enchanted readers for generations.
For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
William Blake (1757-1827) was the son of a London hosier. Having attended Henry Parr's drawing school, he was apprenticed as an engraver to the Society of Antiquaries in 1772 and later was admitted to teh Royal Academy. He married in 1782 and published his first work, Poetical Sketches, in 1783. The first of his "illuminated books" was Songs of Innocence in 1789. Blake's work over the next twenty years chart the refining of his ideas and beliefs, from a recognition of repression in Songs of Experience to his epic works Milton and Jerusalem whihc present a renewed vision of reconciliation between humanity.
Alicia Ostriker is a professor of English at Rutgers University.
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