Monday, January 30, 2017

The Essential Blake

This is a slim volume of the poetry of William Blake selected by Stanley Kunitz. I had only read a few of Blake's poems before picking up this little book; I was quite excited to find it because on the basis of the limited information I had I thought Blake a Christian with strong creative and redemptive themes throughout his body of work. After reading this book, which includes some prose and some of his dreams written out, I can see why his contemporaries thought him mad. At the very least, he was a humanist who believed mankind controlled their own destiny. A disappointment to me, since his poetry is so beautiful at times. This volume contains Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience in their entirety, lyrics and other poems, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (complete), and a miscellany.

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