Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Complete Illuminated Books” as Want to Read:
The Complete Illuminated Books
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Complete Illuminated Books

4.39  ·  Rating details ·  2,738 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
In his Illuminated Books, William Blake combined text and imagery on a single page in a way that had not been done since the Middle Ages. For Blake, religion and politics, intellect and emotion, mind and body were both unified and in conflict with each other: his work is expressive of his personal mythology, and his methods of conveying it were integral to its meaning. The ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published April 17th 2001 by Thames & Hudson (first published 1974)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Complete Illuminated Books, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Complete Illuminated Books

Community Reviews

(showing 1-10)
Rating details
Sort: Default
I began seeking out the illuminated books of William Blake almost as soon as I was introduced to his poetry around 1983 or 1984. I like the illustrations almost as much as I like the poetry.

Blake had a rich poetic palette to work with. He used dialectical dualism in the structure of "The Songs of Innocence and Experience" and in "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell." That alone delivered an interesting set of ideas to think about. He had visions that were important to his work and added depth to his
Jul 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Polypi, vegetating couches, emanations
Will I ever learn to bow to the great weight of History and Literature, to recognize my agonizing lack of context and knowledge, and grant myself permission to have something distilled for me rather than read it myself? I had thought William Blake was a poet who quite ingeniously crafted his own illustrated pamphlets; I was not prepared for the profound extent of his universe and his madness, and have subsequently been driven to keep searching for some great scholar to please, please spell out f ...more
Mary Overton
From the Foreword: "The present volume is the latest product of The William Blake Trust's commitment to the publication of Blake's Illuminated books.... While ... fulfilling its responsibility to scholars, the Trust has been keenly aware that the pages of the Illuminated books offer delights for the eye and excitement to the imagination that are independent of full understanding of textual and visual significances. To make such satisfactions open to the widest possible public the Trust has re-as ...more
Melissa Massello
May 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

One of my favorite poems in the world. What would life be without the Romantics? I shudder to think.
Apr 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, myth, spirituality
William Blake just cracked open my brain and poured in the entire universe.

I looked through this book mostly for the artwork, since a lot of the plates are somewhat difficult to read. Nonetheless, what an experience. Blake's engravings got much more complex as he went along, and the coloring... it's just beyond words. It's the entire human experience expressed in mythological art. Now I'm really, really glad that I began dipping my toes into Joseph Campbell before re-approaching Blake. Having so
Oct 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: devotees & students
Shelves: pretty
PRETTY pictures. And wonderful pictures. And awful pictures. I mean that in the clearest origin of the words: awe full and wonder full, ok? For my personal study of how I am not able to draw, or perhaps might alter what I have done already, like a touchstone, since it's impossible to imitate; therefore infallible. The first hippie. I wouldn't read Blake unless I had to for a grade. I could look at the pictures all day, though, till the pastel and tortured teenage notebook aspects start to revive ...more
May 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
A delectable book in terms of design and illustration. Blake still had the need of drawing from his poem's scenes. His was a case like that of Rossetti, who also paint and wrote on a same theme. I still wonder which thing was first. I agree with some comentaries, that this is not exactly a book to approach Blake's poetry, there are other books for that purpose.
Chris Brimmer
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
To really understand Blake you have to read it with the original illuminations. Get your hands on the largest format you can find. I visited the NYC Library almost everyday for almost a year as they turned one page a day of an original. Great poetry, great art.
Jackie Carreira
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My idea of sheer beauty through words and pictures in one book.
Maguxy Ruiz
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Estos poemas son la mejor forma de ejemplificar que con lo simple se llega a todos lados: vocabulario sencillo, frases cortas... todo eso para que llegara a un numero mayor de lectores, aunque en su epoca, cuando Blake publico por primera vez "Songs of innocence" lo tomaron por un libro para niños, de simple que le parecia a todo el mundo, ademas de las ilustraciones que traia, hechas por el mismo Blake.

Pero su intencion no era aleccionar a los niños en los comportamientos que la sociedad espera
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake
  • The Doré Illustrations for Dante's Divine Comedy
  • Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art
  • Joseph Cornell: Master of Dreams
  • A Blake Dictionary: The Ideas and Symbols of William Blake
  • Japanese Ghosts and Demons: Art of the Supernatural
  • Une Semaine de Bonté
  • The Complete Woodcuts of Albrecht Dürer
  • J.W. Waterhouse
  • Blake
  • The Saddest Place on Earth: The Art of Camille Rose Garcia
  • Necronomicon
  • J.W. Waterhouse
  • Transfigurations
  • Amano: The Complete Prints
  • The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1945-1975
  • Secret Knowledge: Rediscovering the Lost Techniques of the Old Masters
  • Unexpected Journeys: The Art and Life of Remedios Varo

Goodreads is hiring!

If you like books and love to build cool products, we may be looking for you.
Learn more »
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...
“none can desire what he has not perceiv'd.” 6 likes
“He who sees the Infinite in all things sees God. He who sees the Ratio only sees himself only.” 4 likes
More quotes…