William Blake, Songs of Experience

David Punter (University of Bristol)
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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 much how nineteenth-century anthologists saw them. Of poems like “A Cradle Song”

1632 words

Citation: Punter, David. "Songs of Experience". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=2004, accessed 05 March 2024.]

2004 Songs of 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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