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Songs of Innocence and Experience


Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (1794) juxtapose the innocent, pastoral world of childhood against an adult world of corruption and repression; while such poems as "The Lamb" represent a meek virtue, poems like "The Tyger" exhibit opposing, darker forces. Thus the collection as a whole explores the value and limitations of two different perspectives on the world. Many of the poems fall into pairs, so that the same situation or problem is seen through the lens of innocence first and then experience. Blake does not identify himself wholly with either view; most of the poems are dramatic--that is, in the voice of a speaker other than the poet himself. Blake stands outside innocence and experience, in a distanced position from which he hopes to be able to recognize and correct the fallacies of both. In particular, he pits himself against despotic authority, restrictive morality, sexual repression, and institutionalized religion; his great insight is into the way these separate modes of control work together to squelch what is most holy in human beings.--Submitted by Anonymous.

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Recent Forum Posts on Songs of Innocence and Experience

Sexual imagery in "the Blossom"?

I was lucky enough to find an illustrated version of Songs of Innocence and Experience, but I was shocked at what the editor had to say about the illustration to "the Blossom". Basically, he claims that the illustrated "blossom" represents the penis, in both its aroused and unaroused states. Here is his claim;pardon his stilted language...apparently, you can't talk too properly about the sex act (:rolleyes:): illustrates the organ of generation both flaccid and erect, with the generative principle breaking from its crest in the form of tiny winged and happy figures. One has found its goal in the maiden's bosom; she sits contentedly among the flying joys, distinguished by her green dress and large angel's wings, since she, with her prospective motherhood, is an ideal figure to the male during the act of generation. Here is the picture in question. Do you agree? And, if so, why put such a poem in Innocence instead of Experience?

The Divine Image

I just loved this poem. I think the way in which it is strcutured is excellent. I think there is a lot of meaning behind this poem and it feels so real. The Divine Image Cruelty has a human heart, And Jealousy a human face; Terror the human form divine, And secrecy the human dress. The human dress is forged iron, The human form a fiery forge, The human face a furnace seal'd, The human heart its hungry gorge.

The Divine Image & Human Abstract

Do these two poems help us to understand how Blake felt about humanity?

What's it about anyway?

Hey everyone. I was just sitting here thinking about what to write for my english essay about Blake and his "Songs of Inocence and Experience". Does it make sense if really blake was struggling with the idea of what to believe. Like i think with songs of innocence and experience, blake was sort of wondering really what to believe. I know some people called him a Christian Gnostic, which i dont know somewhat makes sense. but what if in songs of innocence and experience he was tossing around the ideas of Christians and god. Because in songs of innocence and experience there are a lot of references to the bible and god himself. Does this make sense to anyone? or am i looking way too deep? to be honest i think he isnt really sure what to believe and through his poems its a way for him to figure things out. and he does this through the songs of innocence and experience comparing the songs of innocence to gentle, pure, sweet and innocent things in the world, and the songs of experience to evil, mature, grown up and hard things in this world. hope someone understands what im trying to say.. :angel:

Songs of Innocence and of Experience

Hey peeps, To all those who have read William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience", what was your favourite poem and why? (and to those who have not read the poems, they are fantastic and you so totally should if you get the chance!) Mine is probably "The Tyger" because of its rhythm, it reads so well, and Blake's choice of diction in the poem expresses the ferocity of the tiger really well. Would love to hear any opinions on Blake! :)

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