Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience (1794) juxtapose the innocent, pastoral world of childhood against an adult world of corruption and repression; while such poems as "The Lamb" represent a meek virtue, poems like "The Tyger" exhibit opposing, darker forces. Thus the collection as a whole explores the value and limitations of two different perspectives on the world. Many of the poems fall into pairs, so that the same situation or problem is seen through the lens of innocence first and then experience. Blake does not identify himself wholly with either view; most of the poems are dramatic--that is, in the voice of a speaker other than the poet himself. Blake stands outside innocence and experience, in a distanced position from which he hopes to be able to recognize and correct the fallacies of both. In particular, he pits himself against despotic authority, restrictive morality, sexual repression, and institutionalized religion; his great insight is into the way these separate modes of control work together to squelch what is most holy in human beings.--Submitted by Anonymous.
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Recent Forum Posts on Songs of Innocence and Experience
Sexual imagery in "the Blossom"?
I was lucky enough to find an illustrated version of Songs of Innocence and Experience, but I was shocked at what the editor had to say about the illustration to "the Blossom". Basically, he claims that the illustrated "blossom" represents the penis, in both its aroused and unaroused states. Here is his claim;pardon his stilted language...apparently, you can't talk too properly about the sex act (:rolleyes:): illustrates the organ of generation both flaccid and erect, with the generative principle breaking from its crest in the form of tiny winged and happy figures. One has found its goal in the maiden's bosom; she sits contentedly among the flying joys, distinguished by her green dress and large angel's wings, since she, with her prospective motherhood, is an ideal figure to the male during the act of generation. Here is the picture in question. Do you agree? And, if so, why put such a poem in Innocence instead of Experience?
Posted By Wilde woman at Sun 10 May 2009, 11:24 PM in Songs of Innocence and Experience || 1 Reply
The Divine Image
I just loved this poem. I think the way in which it is strcutured is excellent. I think there is a lot of meaning behind this poem and it feels so real. The Divine Image 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.
Posted By Dark Muse at Thu 3 Jul 2008, 9:12 PM in Songs of Innocence and Experience || 6 Replies
The Divine Image & Human Abstract
Do these two poems help us to understand how Blake felt about humanity?
Posted By rechellehay at Thu 24 Apr 2008, 5:56 AM in Songs of Innocence and Experience || 1 Reply
What's it about anyway?
Hey everyone. I was just sitting here thinking about what to write for my english essay about Blake and his "Songs of Inocence and Experience". Does it make sense if really blake was struggling with the idea of what to believe. Like i think with songs of innocence and experience, blake was sort of wondering really what to believe. I know some people called him a Christian Gnostic, which i dont know somewhat makes sense. but what if in songs of innocence and experience he was tossing around the ideas of Christians and god. Because in songs of innocence and experience there are a lot of references to the bible and god himself. Does this make sense to anyone? or am i looking way too deep? to be honest i think he isnt really sure what to believe and through his poems its a way for him to figure things out. and he does this through the songs of innocence and experience comparing the songs of innocence to gentle, pure, sweet and innocent things in the world, and the songs of experience to evil, mature, grown up and hard things in this world. hope someone understands what im trying to say.. :angel:
Posted By Laur_101 at Thu 16 Nov 2006, 8:52 AM in Songs of Innocence and Experience || 6 Replies
Songs of Innocence and of Experience
Hey peeps, To all those who have read William Blake's "Songs of Innocence and of Experience", what was your favourite poem and why? (and to those who have not read the poems, they are fantastic and you so totally should if you get the chance!) Mine is probably "The Tyger" because of its rhythm, it reads so well, and Blake's choice of diction in the poem expresses the ferocity of the tiger really well. Would love to hear any opinions on Blake! :)
Posted By super_maz at Fri 16 Jun 2006, 9:49 AM in Songs of Innocence and Experience || 11 Replies
Post a New Comment/Question on Songs of Innocence and Experience
William Blake presents two contrasting views of life in his Songs of Innocence and Experience: the innocent and idyllic world of childhood is set against the dark and ominous world of adulthood. Several of the poems in this collection can be read as pairs, each representing one end of the spectrum of either innocence or experience. The usefulness of looking at the pair poems is the observation of the same phenomena by opposing world views. This black and white view, however, is more complex than it seems. The world of innocence may seem naive and too trusting in its optimistic and positive manner; it seems to turn a blind eye to the evils of the world. At the same time, the world of experience or the “bad” world seems a little too cynical and in its own way does not present the complete reality of existence. However, together they form a balance between the light and dark forces of the world and present a picture of reality that acknowledges both forces. It is important to note that the poet himself does not concur wholly with either worldview, but is as objective as possible about each.
One pair of poems that can be so compared are The Tyger and The Lamb, representing experience and innocence respectively. In both poems, the...
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