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The Complete Poetry and Prose

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  14,978 ratings  ·  77 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 1913)
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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)

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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 ...more
Dec 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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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 ...more
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.
Sep 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I will never be done with this book.
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 poemsmany 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, Blakes 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!
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.
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 ...more
Anthony Ryan
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to think of another poet who has had so much influence on modern speculative fiction. Lyrical brilliance combined with a boundless imagination and, as you'll discover from his correspondence and more ribald verse, a profound sense of humour. However, it's in Blake's contemplations of the spiritual and metaphysical that most fellow fantasists will find greatest inspiration: 'To see a world in a grain of sand...' Try beating that one.
Sep 11, 2015 added it
Shelves: poem, classic

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.
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
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 delight
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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.
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.
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."
Darryl Almonte
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Difficult to digest but a wonderful experience, I suspect when I re-read this one in 3-5 years I'm gonna have a different interpretation of Blake's works.
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Outstanding edition of Blake, the best available for a broad overview of his work.
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
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]

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!
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.
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.
Filomena Thepoet
Sep 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What can I say. I simply love Blake.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
William Blake, on his birthday November 28
"I must create a system or be enslaved by another mans. William Blake
Satires of both Church and State authority, radical freedom and a revolutionary engagement with aristocratic tyranny and the English monarchy, a visionary theology which privileges direct personal insight without a filtering system of priests or the inquisitors and crusaders who enforce their rule, together with a mature poetics which abandons rhyme and meter and an art of
Feb 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2020, poetry
A long time ago (in high school), I was told by a teacher that he liked my poetry. It reminded him of William Blake. It's the sort of comment that sticks with you. For me, I still remember it from time to time a decade and change later. It's been a while since I've read any Blake, so perhaps it's time for another go.

Throughout the Complete Works, there are essentially three parts to Blake's writing:

- Philosophical writings on the nature of religion and the universe
- Straight random poetry in
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.
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
wonderful poems, obviously
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Though I am not much of a fan of Blake, this collection provided a renewed fascination with the greatest. I'm more of a fan of his prose, however scant.
Lucas Chance
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."
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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

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