William Blake, The Book of Thel

Download PDF Add to Bookshelf Report an Error

William Blake completed The Book of Thel between his publication of the Songs of Innocence (1789) and the Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1793). Dated 1789 on the title page, but etched on eight copper plates between 1789 and 1790, The Book of Thel dramatizes the journey of the virgin Thel from a state of innocence to a state of experience. It is the first of Blake’s illuminated books to be written in fourteeners, the meter he used for most of his narrative poetry, and it is one of the earliest works to evidence the complex mythological system he constructed for his prophetic writings. Scholars have traced eighteen individually colored printings of The Book of Thel (1789-90; 1795?, 1818?); in all but the final two printings the poem opens with “Thel’s Motto” (repositioned as…

1371 words

Citation: Linkin, Harriet. "The Book of Thel". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 January 2012 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1409, accessed 07 December 2023.]

1409 The Book of Thel 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

Save this article

If you need to create a new bookshelf to save this article in, please make sure that you are logged in, then go to your 'Account' here

Leave Feedback

The Literary Encyclopedia is a living community of scholars. We welcome comments which will help us improve.