Songs of Innocence (Dover Fine Art) (Paperback)
To the modern eye, William Blake's illustrated poems that comprise Songs of Innocence and Experience may seem commonplace. But in 1789, when Blake's copperplate engravings were first printed, he was considered a pioneer of the form. Dozens of editions of the book were printed and individually hand-colored, the result being that no two pages are identical. These editions represent just one of his many versions of the book. Keen, insightful, and profound, Blake's poetry and paintings have been a major source of inspiration for artists for centuries; contemporary examples include Maurice Sendak, Kenneth Patchen, and Allen Ginsburg. Familiar with the phrase "fearful symmetry"? That's Blake! Songs of Innocence and Experience has stood the test of time and is worth revisiting again and again.— From Ryan's Picks
William Blake's innovations in engraving techniques brought about his brilliant synthesis of visual and poetic art and signaled the beginning of his famous "Illuminated Books," of which the Songs of Innocence was the first and most popular. Unfortunately, Blake's vision is generally known to the world in amputated form: because of the difficulty and expense of reproducing his original conception, most editions of Blake's work offer only the printed text, with no trace of the visual counterpart so essential to his "System."
This new, facsimile edition of the Songs of Innocence reproduces Blake's color plates in a fashion which the artist himself would have approved. The 31 plates -- printed on facing pages which are the same size of Blake's own first edition -- offer one of the more brightly colored versions of this significant volume, no two copies of which are the same. As a special aid to readers, a typographical reprint of the text of poems follows the plates. Such classic "songs" as "The Lamb" and "The Chimney Sweeper" are now accessible to all in the symbiotic union of poem and picture that is crucial to a total understating of Blake's mind and art.
About the Author
Painter, printer, and poet, William Blake (1757-1827) was a master at expressing great literature through his art. Perhaps the finest engraver in English history, Blake's illuminated books -- filled with sketches and watercolors that boggle the mind with their beauty and detail -- are as sought after today as they were over a hundred years ago.