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The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  13,789 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
Since its first publication in 1965, this collection has been widely hailed as the best available text of William Blake's poetry and prose. It is now expanded to include a new foreword by Harold Bloom, his definitive statement on Blake's greatness.
Hardcover, 1022 pages
Published July 7th 2008 by University of California Press (first published 1965)
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Dec 07, 2010 Alins rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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Aug 22, 2009 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Blake became one of the most highly regarded writers and painters during his time--after his death. He was opinionated and luckily he was afforded the opportunity to express views that others were persecuted for expressing during that time in history. To fully understand his work, study his life and the societal norms of the day. Otherwise you can't fully appreciate the beauty of his ideas.
Jul 09, 2016 Dan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
(Review edited July 2016)

While frequently described as "pre-Romantic," Blake wrote on many themes typically associated with Romanticism, including nature, imagination and the experiences of childhood. One significant way in which Blake differs from the Romantic poets, however, is in his use of myth. While poets like Keats or Shelley might make reference to a recognized character from classical myth (even basing a longer work on such a character, as in the case of Shelley's verse drama Prometheus
Patrick Gibson
Aug 25, 2009 Patrick Gibson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Blake was a printer and published his own poems—many illustrated. In fact scholars debate which pantheon to place him: artist or poet. Because of the labor intensive and time consuming manner in which type was set my hand, Blake’s poetry is extremely economic. It is this conservation of words expressing such an abundance of ideas that makes his writing profoundly simple. That combined with the fact he had visions and was probably insane makes for great poetry.

"Hear the voice of the Bard!
Who Pres
Nov 30, 2008 James rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Any lover of Blake.
Erdman's edition of the complete poetry and prose is now the standard edition of Blake's complete works and is the edition referenced by the Blake concordance online (as well as being available online, but Bloom's commentary is not). It is superior editorially to Keynes's edition, but the organization of Keynes's edition always made more sense to me, being more strictly chronological. Furthermore, the Erdman edition heavily edits The Four Zoas to make it a coherent text, so I recommend direct st ...more
Chad Gibbons
Jul 25, 2011 Chad Gibbons rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
William Blake has got to be my favorite poet. Read 'Songs of Innocence' to your kids and read 'Songs of Experience' for yourself.

This guy was a genius. And he was probably insane.
Jan 31, 2013 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake through the Arrowhead interlibrary loan system, which serves northeast Minnesota. I must return it by Feb 4, 2013. Literally, it is a very heavy book in paperback. You could prop up an end of a bookshelf with it, or use it as a doorstop.

I like it so much, I may buy a copy. I knew Blake composed beautiful work. I knew little about how radical he was for his time. He created most of his work during the period from 1784 until his death in
Oct 28, 2015 Kirk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: skimmed
“The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”
[…] If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear
to man as it is: infinite.
For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things thro'
narrow chinks of his cavern.

[autograph:] William Blake: one who is very much delighted with being in good company. Born 28 Nov 1757 in London & has died several times since.

“Auguries of Innocence”
Every Night & every Morn
Some to Misery are Born
Every Morn & every Night
Some are Born to sweet delig
Melusine Parry
I absolutely adore William Blake. I am completely against any edition that has the poems without the illustrations (dunno about that one, picked it at random). It's literally a crime against the man's art to publish the text without the drawings.

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.
I haven't read ALL of it, but I've read most of the poetry and a few of the shorter prose pieces. I'm a fan of Blake's. His poetry is amazing.
Sep 12, 2007 Irene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
I will never be done with this book.
Aug 06, 2008 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first saw William Blake's paintings I thought they were naive, in bad taste, and so child-like as to elude serious consideration. But somehow over the years I have gotten into them to the point where I might even put a post-card version of "Urizen creating Adam" on a living room bulletin board and in doing so invoke the oft verbalized consternation of my Blake-hating wife. The trouble with the mass-market prints of Blake though are that all the original darkness has to get brightened and ...more
Mary Overton
the apocalypse, from The Four Zoas: Night the Ninth:

"... rivn link from link the bursting Universe explodes
"All things reversed flew from their centers rattling bones
"To bones Join, shaking convulsd the shivering clay breathes
"Each speck of dust to the Earths center nestles round & round
"In pangs of an Eternal Birth in torment & awe & fear
"All spirits deceasd let loose from reptile prisons come in shoals
"Wild furies from the tygers brain & from the lions Eyes
"And from the ox &am
Alex Obrigewitsch
Truly a paragon of artists and the arts.
A master, a mystic, a teacher and a tempest.

"Energy is eternal delight."
John Cutler
I love the Songs of Innocence and Experience. But man, Blake gets weird with the long, mystical-fantastic allegories.
Dustin Lewis
William Blake is not my cup of tea. I'm not saying that he's not right for everyone, but it didn't do it for me.
Ben Schaffer
Nov 30, 2014 Ben Schaffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feb 25, 2013 Carlos rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I reconnect on so many levels when I read Blake. Let me quote from the Song of Los:
Times rolled o'er all the sons of Har, time after time
Orc on Mount Atlas howld, chain'd down with the Chain of Jealousy
Then Oothon hovered over Judah & Jerusalem
And Jesus heard her voice (a man of sorrows) he received
A Gospel from wretched Theotormon."

All things change, decay, and are reborn. That is only a part of Blake's message.
Highly Recomended!
F.F. White
Often, I enjoy Blake. His more inspired work is really great. However, he was a printer, and in this volume you shall find the many hundreds of pages he wrote, which he does not appear to have edited. So, I recommend a more concise volume, because reading this one is often laborious. One can only read so many poems about Rembrandt that use no imagery or flavor.
Mar 05, 2009 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At what point does someone get to put a 900 page collection of Blake on their READ shelf? I'm calling it, with the concession that OF COURSE I have not read the entire thing. The 5 stars is awarded to the editors, principally based on the merit of the annotations and intro. It would be odd and churlish to award Blake some number or other of stars.
Unfortunately, Norton restricted the editors in this edition to a purely editorial function. That is too bad, since they are good scholars and have a lot to say about Blake from their side; sometimes opinionated but always lively. I suggest reading the new criticism in this edition but going back to the old edition for the fuller footnotes.
Aug 22, 2016 Gregg rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English speakers
Growing up I hated poetry, but Blake was the one that changed that. I found Blake's rhymes pleasing to the ear and I could understand how poetry could convey more than simple prose alone. What I enjoy most about Blake's poetry is when he creates poems in opposition to each other, such as in the Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.
Jun 02, 2009 Elaine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Blake is arguably the best poet of the Romantic era. However, I doubt I would have tackled him by myself-- I have a profound understanding of him only due to an amazing professor (who had a major man-crush on Blake, by the way, so my opinion of Blake is probably biased as well).
Adriaan Krabbendam
Dec 05, 2008 Adriaan Krabbendam rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
What can I say? Blake is the uncrowned master of interactive poetry, with a mind and energy to examine all things happenin in his times. A visionary with a smile, with an open wink to the devil, witha deep knoledge of the material, sexual and poetic world.
Aug 18, 2008 Amy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I really wish I could understand Blake. I took a class on his works in college and out of a whole quarter of reading, I only felt I could unravel a few poems. I'm disappointed in myself for this so that's the only reason I don't like this book.
Larry Ratcliffe
...the only book I have ever stolen...and it was from a library in college! Man what a nutcase. I didn't understand a word but I thought he must have been one wild guy. Later I found out he was.
Read and reading... I flip through this book like I used to flip through the pages of the NIV, looking for my favorite passages and the ones I need at the time.
Nick Black
William Blake works best when being cleverly quoted by Aldous Huxley. There's an awful lot of chaff in this mighty tome.
Oh, William Blake you insane visionary!
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The 2 14 Sep 03, 2012 03:08AM  
Black Maven: The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake 1 2 Aug 17, 2011 09:50AM  
  • Poetry and Prose
  • The Major Works
  • A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas and Symbols of William Blake
  • Collected Poems, 1909-1962
  • Collected Poems, Prose, and Plays
  • The Complete Poems
  • Poetry (Norton Critical Editions)
  • The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose
  • Poetry and Prose (Library of America)
  • Selected Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake
  • The Collected Poems, Vol. 1: 1909-1939
  • Robert Browning's Poetry
  • The Complete Poems
  • Collected Poetry & Prose
  • Collected Poems
  • Poems and Prose
William Blake was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake's work is today considered seminal and significant in the history of both poetry and the visual arts.

Blake's prophetic poetry has been said to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the language". His visual artistry has led one modern critic to proclaim h
More about William Blake...

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“The fool who persists in his folly will become wise.” 54 likes
“Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief?

Can I see a falling tear,
And not feel my sorrow's share?
Can a father see his child
Weep, nor be with sorrow filled?

Can a mother sit and hear
An infant groan, an infant fear?
No, no! never can it be!
Never, never can it be!”
More quotes…