William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience

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David Punter (University of Bristol)

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The Songs of Innocence and of Experience is probably Blake's most famous work. The Songs of Innocence were originally published in 1789, and the two sets of poems together appeared in 1794. But when we say “published” we have to be, as always with Blake, aware that they were not published in any conventional sense; rather Blake himself prepared a number of copies, each consisting of Plates on which words and visual images mingle and intertwine. No two copies are identical; furthermore there are variations in the arrangement of the poems and even occasional differences as to which sequence a poem belongs to.

Songs of Innocence have often been described as exemplary poems of childhood, and this was very m…

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Citation: Punter, David. "Songs of Innocence and Experience". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1949, accessed 06 February 2023.]

1949 Songs of Innocence and Experience 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.

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