O’Neill, C. (2022) ‘Texts in context: Songs of Innocence and of Experience’, English Review, 33 (2), pp.20-21.
William Blake printed Songs of Innocence first in 1789, combining them into one volume with Songs of Experience five years later, and inviting readers to compare and contrast innocence and experience as ‘the Two Contrary states of the Human Soul’. These lyrics resist obvious interpretation and still challenge readers today. This article considers literary context, printing and production context, political and religious context and romantic context.
Byrne, S. (2020) ‘Poems of political and social protest: William Blake and Tony Harrison’, English Review, 30 (3), pp.6-9.
Sandie Byrne compares and contrasts the political poetry of William Blake and Tony Harrison.
McPhilemy, K. (2017) ‘Through grammar to meaning: an exploration of word classes in Blake’s The Devine Image’, Emagazine, 78, pp.43-45.
Kathleen McPhilemy’s careful analysis of words and word classes in Blake’s linked poems of ‘Innocence‘ and ‘Experience’ reveals much about their religious ideas, which she then contextualises with information about his beliefs and the times in which he lived.
Johnson, K. (2014) ‘Blake in the east: India and colonialism in The Tyger and London’, Emagazine, 66, pp.26-28.
By reading ‘The Tyger’ and ‘London’ in the context of Britain’s burgeoning imperial ambitions, Kurt Johnson provides a fresh perspective on two poems at the heart of Blake’s ‘Experience’.
Green, A. (2013) ‘Blake, revolution and social reform’, Emagazine, 62, pp.20-22.
William Blake lived through an era of political unrest and social change. Andrew Green explores how the revolutionary spirit of the age is at work in the ‘Songs of Innocence and of Experience’.
Curry, M. (2012) ‘Introducing the introduction: Blake’s construction of viewpoints in Songs of Innocence and of Experience’, Emagazine, 55, pp.26-28.
By looking at the first poems in the two collections, with their two narrators, the piper and the bard, Matthew Curry reveals how Blake breaks down simple oppositions to create new states of understanding.
Norton, G. (2011) ‘The mind forg’d manacles: William Blake and ideology’, Emagazine, 52, pp.12-14.
George Norton explores two aspects of Marxist theory in relation to ‘The Chimney Sweeper’ poem in ‘Songs of Innocence‘.