The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics)

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9780140422153: The Complete Poems (Penguin Classics)

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 Experience—which 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.

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From the Back Cover:

William Blake (1757-1827) is one of the great figures in literature, by turns poet, artist and visionary. Profoundly libertarian in outlook, Blake's engagement with the issues of his day is well known and this - along with his own idiosyncratic concerns - flows through his poetry and his art. Like Milton before him, the prodigality of his allusions and references is little short of astonishing. Consequently, his longer visionary  poems can challenge the modern reader, who will find in this avowedly open edition all they might need to interpret the poetry.

W. H. Stevenson's Blake is a masterpiece of scrupulous scholarship. It is, as the editor makes clear in his introduction, 'designed to be widely, and fluently, read' and this Third Edition incorporates many changes to further that aim. Many of the headnotes have been rewritten and the footnotes updated. The full texts of the early prose tracts, All Religions are One and There is No Natural Religion, are included for the first time. In many instances, Blake's capitalisation has been restored, better to convey the expressive individuality of his writing. In addition, a full colour plate section contains a representation of Blake's most significant paintings and designs. As the 250th anniversary of his birth approaches, Blake has perhaps more readers than ever before; Blake: The Complete Poems will stand those readers, new and old, in good stead for many years to come.

W. H. Stevenson worked on the first edition while Professor of English at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he also conducted the only known performance in Nigeria of Donizetti's opera, 'l'elisir d'amore'. Later he was Full Professor at Boston University, USA, and head of the Department of English at Calabar, Nigeria. He has also taught at Leeds and Edinburgh Universities.


 

About the Author:

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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