Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Songs of Innocence and of Experience

"Songs of Innocence and of Experience" is an illustrated collection of poems by William Blake.   I think the first edition was printed in 1789.  Five years later he added more poems to the collection.

The book (which I haven't read...yet) is divided into two parts. 
The first part contains his songs of innocence and the second part his songs of experience. 
Within the book there are two different poems with the same title -  "The Chimney Sweeper".  One is placed amoung the songs of innocence the other amoung the songs of experience.

In Songs of Innocence, the boy  in “The Chimney Sweeper” sees his situation through the eyes of innocence and does not understand the social injustice. In Songs of Experience, the boy in the poem sees the injustice and speaks against the establishments that left him where he is. Different aspects of one poem illuminate opposing aspects of the other poem. Ideas addressed in Innocence contrast the different views of Experience, as Experience does for Innocence, emphasizing the need for a balance of the two. The fact that these poems can influence the reader’s interpretation of one another confirms Blake’s notion that neither innocence nor experience is a correct view and that one completes the other. - K.L. Reiser

Clever of Blake, don't you think?  I'll post the two poems tomorrow.

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