William Blake, Dichotomy of Existence in Songs of Innocence vs Songs of Experience

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This book represents a profound and exuberant outlook on the most popular book of poetry by William Blake, “Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience” with strong emphasis on the central images of both perspectives of this ingenious author. Namely, in the base of ingenious point of view is exactly the dichotomy perfectly depicted by essentially representative imagery of William Blake. In the contents you will see that the book contains general overview of Georgean England and the literary climate of the time along with the social, political and religious implications as well as many quotations and observations of well-known critics. William Blake was an author much ahead of his time and has remained to be the pearl in the necklace of English literature as a figure with striking purity, wisdom and piety so rare in the contemporary world. The book calls for awakening of the human spirit as a treasury of poetical images such as of this great author , widely cited and cherished by so many contemporary artists and ordinary people although often in misplaced context. As a great admirer of his work I invite all the readers to grasp the essence of his angelic point of view and wisdom universal for all times.

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Excerpts from the book:

“In the transition from the era of Classicism into the era of Romanticism there was a time in English literature when there were artists who showed the first signs of incoming time in their writings marked with romantic attitude towards the world, respect for individualism and awakening of the idea of Rousseau’s “natural man” . After “Sentimentalists” such as Collins and Gray emerged the poets of great imagination and strong individualism such as Robert Burns and William Blake, who cherished the value of the nature of man versus rationalism of the previous times, officially still present in the academic circles and social level of consciousness. It was the time when the modern kind of artist appeared, comparing to those dependant on their benefactors, a freelance professional who works with editors and whose main concern is the public reception of their work.”



“In the “Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience”, Blake exposed the world of his inner dualism but moreover, the world of general human dualism with such a precision of poetical imagery that, besides the psychological value, has the outlook of the social and political reflections of his time. Poems are rich in symbolism and descriptions of 18th century London that is dramatically shaken by unjustice of growing disproportion ofthe poor and rich, opposition and monarchy, exploited and exploiters, “natural” andrational man”, freedom and captivity, imagination and power, metaphoricallyexpressed as the world of Innocence and the world of Experience.”




Poems of this book are generally “mythically symbolical”.

Namely, “it is of the utmost importance to realize that there is a vast area of life that could be understood only by means of imagery and symbols. All the great and original art uses them, since they emerge from religious and spiritual experiences. Blake was very intuitive and his art is expressed intuitively in the language of images and symbols, delivering truthful and living experience.”That is certainly the way to grasp the dialectics of these two pieces of philosophical, but also emotional poetry. Additionally, a literal accomplishment is considered great when with few words author can deliver the truth, reach great revelations and express so much, all by means of accurate symbolism. That is exactly the case with Blake’s art, particularly with the “Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience”, that represent the core of his literary work, the only one that has been published on his own.”

“According to the words of W.B.Yeats, William Blake was “ a symbolist who had to invent his symbols; he was a man crying out for mythology, and trying to make one because he could not find one to his hand. Maybe these words most appropriately describe the very process and the essence of his creative endeavour and accomplishment.What is striking is the precision and the authenticity of poetic images of his world of co-existent extremes, immanent to every Genius, perfectly interpreted within his own system. It seems that when you grasp the truth, it all comes down to dialectics of Biblical dualism.“The Lamb” and “The Tyger” are the key symbols of his mythology and his system that represent this dualism.”

“His theosophical system represents his personal idiosyncratic actualization of an ancient repertoire of magical symbols and occult visions that refers to his entire opus, but what we see in “Songs” is very much actualization of  his in-deep psychoanalysis as well as his rebellious outcry in his quest for freedom, in times when the word freedom was biggest ideal. But he knew so well that freedom is a state of mind and he fought for realization of that freedom in practical life. His philosophy strikes to the

veryroot of the potential ofman within the boundaries of the social structures and what he did was the exploration of that potential. That is why he is so great.”


2 thoughts on “William Blake, Dichotomy of Existence in Songs of Innocence vs Songs of Experience”

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