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The Complete Poetry and Prose

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  14,511 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
Since its first publication in 1965, this edition has been widely hailed as the best available text of Blake's poetry and prose. Now revised, it includes up-to-date work on variants, chronology of the poems, and critical commentary by Harold Bloom. An "Approved Edition" of the Center for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association.
Paperback, 1024 pages
Published March 5th 1997 by Anchor (first published 1965)
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Liz This probably isn't even relevant to you now but sadly, this book does not combine his artistic work.

However, I highly recommend visiting The Blake…more
This probably isn't even relevant to you now but sadly, this book does not combine his artistic work.

However, I highly recommend visiting The Blake Archive online. It's free to use and you can see a vast amount of his work in high-resolution images. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Hussam Elkhatib
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
William Blake is one of the greatest poets of the English language. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the mysteries of life. A great concept that William Blake shared was how the individual ought to draw his or hers own conclusions and find their personalized ways, otherwise, they'll become a slave to someone else's thoughts the rest of their lives. Very well worth the read. Furthermore, anyone who's interested in republicanism and democracy should put this great book on their shel ...more
Ladies and gentlemen, make way for the BLOWOUT! scholarly edition of the man who kept me focused on the inherently fated and apocalyptic nature of modern life for a few weeks. I've been a fan ever since high school, and felt the need to clean house and read the complete works, including the really boring, ephemeral letters. With this, you get a complete picture of Blake's worldview, and the bizarre mythological systems he dreamt up to convey his vision of life in England around the turn of the 1 ...more
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Mar 13, 2008 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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I will never be done with this book.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing
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 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Sep 11, 2015 added it
Shelves: classic, poem

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.
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Happy to see that the editors reproduced all of Blake's marginal notations (in books that he owned), which are 100% amazing:

[On Bacon]

Good Advice for Satan's Kingdom

What Bacon calls Lies is Truth itself!

Trifling Nonsense

This is Folly Itself

Is this Great -- Is this Christian -- No

What a contemptible Fool is This Bacon

Surely the Man who wrote this letter never talked to any but coxcombs

The Great Bacon he is Call'd -- I call him the Little Bacon

God is not a Mathematical Diagram

[On Lavater]

This shou
Oct 18, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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!
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: classics
Blake was one of the first poets I ever read and have come across time and time again and is also one of the only poets I've ever studied whose works I've thoroughly enjoyed reading. Thought provoking and full of interesting discourses - a sobering but refreshing step back from the typical 18th Century Gothic or Austen novel.
Tony Iantosca
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Right, that one.
Alex Obrigewitsch
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Truly a paragon of artists and the arts.
A master, a mystic, a teacher and a tempest.

"Energy is eternal delight."
Feb 15, 2009 added it
Shelves: poetry, literature
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.
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the greatest book I have ever read. Blake's poetry and prose are unmatched, whether he's invoking life and nature, questioning religion (especially fundamentalism), or calling a fundamentalist reverend on his hypocrisy, this book has it all.

I will never remove this book from my collection, and I'm still waiting to see if anything knocks it off #1 on my all-time favorites list.
Tait Jensen
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a treasure.
Jon Tokarz
May 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The very first person that I'm aware of to ever use the emoji in poetry over 200 years ago.
Lucas Chance
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I am not so much done with this as taking a break. Blake is an infinitely fascinating author/artist. I will be picking this book back up and reading it soon or when the fancy strikes me.

"Thus men forget that all deities reside in the human breast."
Aug 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
F.F. White
Dec 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 10, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Oct 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Adriaan Krabbendam
Dec 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
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New Poetry 1 1 Jan 07, 2018 10:41AM  
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Black Maven: The Complete Poetry & Prose of William Blake 1 3 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
  • Tennyson's Poetry
  • The Complete Poetry and Selected Prose
  • Poetry and Prose
  • 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.” 72 likes
“That which can be made Explicit to the idiot is not worth my care.” 14 likes
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