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Songs of Innocence & Songs of Experience by William Blake
Songs of Innocence and of Experience
I liked the pictures in Songs of Experience better than those in Songs of Innocence-- at least in the originals used for my Dover facsimile edition, the colors are much richer and darker. The first poetry book I bought of my own free will. I bought it since it had "The Tyger" included in it, as well as the illustrations. The text on the plates of the illustrations are hard to read, but Songs of Innocence and of Experience.
William Blake was an artist, poet, mystic, visionary and radical thinker. Working at a time of great social and political change, his work explores the tensions between the human passions and the repressive nature of social and political conventions. In Songs of Innocence and of Experience , perhaps his most famous collection of poems, he investigates, as he put it in the subtitle, 'the two contrary states of the human soul'. Songs of Innocence and of Experience is regarded as both a visual and literary work of art. Blake invented a new way of printing, designing the work in reverse with varnish on metal plates, which were then etched with acid to produce relief printing surfaces; these were printed in brown ink, and the prints were coloured by hand. Only a small number of copies were made, and sold privately to friends and collectors.
Songs of Innocence and of Experience  is an illustrated collection of poems by William Blake. It appeared in two phases. A few first copies were printed and illuminated by William Blake himself in ; five years later he bound these poems with a set of new poems in a volume titled Songs of Innocence and of Experience Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. William Blake was also a painter before the songs of innocence and experience and made paintings such as Oberon, Titania, and Puck dancing with fairies. Often, interpretations of this collection centre around a mythical dualism, where "Innocence" represents the "unfallen world" and "Experience" represents the "fallen world". This world sometimes impinges on childhood itself, and in any event becomes known through "experience", a state of being marked by the loss of childhood vitality, by fear and inhibition, by social and political corruption, and by the manifold oppression of Church, State, and the ruling classes.