The core of William Blake's vision, his greatness as one of the British Romantics, is most fully expressed in his Illuminated Books, masterworks of art and text intertwined and mutually enriching. Made possible by recent advances in printing and reproduction technology, the publication of new editions of Jerusalem and Songs of Innocence and of Experience in 1991 was a major publishing event. Now these two volumes are followed by The Early Illuminated Books and Milton, A Poem. The books in both volumes are reproduced from the best available copies of Blake's originals and in faithfulness and accuracy match the acclaimed standards set by Jerusalem and Songs. These two volumes are uniform in format and binding with the first two volumes.
The Early Illuminated Books comprises All Religions Are One and There Is No Natural Religion; Thel; Marriage of Heaven and Hell; and Visions of the Daughters of Albion. Milton, A Poem, second only to Jerusalem in extent and ambition, is accompanied by Laocoön, The Ghost of Abel, and On Homer's Poetry.
"[Blake's] illuminated books, parables of earthly life, were peopled with fanciful creatures drawn from an elaborate invented mythology. Blake published these works himself, but his ambition to reach a wide audience was never realized. Now the William Blake Trust, in association with Princeton University Press, has initiated a five-volume facsimile series. . . . The first two volumes . . . are now available. Produced with meticulous care, each has a brief introduction. Each volume also contains exquisite reproductions of the original plates, a new transcription of Blake's text and scholarly but accessible plate-by-plate commentaries."--Andrea Barnet, The New York Times Book Review
"The color printing is exceptional."--Lewis Segal, The Los Angeles Times Book Review
"In every way this initial release is a triumph. The exquisite images and a lucid text of each volume endow not just Blake's work, but the relationships between word and image, with a crystalline clarity."--Eric Gibson, The Washington Times
"[These volumes] reproduce, plate by plate, Blake's hand-lettered verses and colored illustrations. . . . These illuminated books, masterpieces of the book-maker's art, answer critical questions, especially about the poet's late, recondite allegories. They remind the poetry scholar that his Blake was first a visual artist, indebted to Raphael and Michelangelo, and second a writer beholden to Spenser and Milton. . . ."--New Criterion
Published in association with the William Blake Trust
File created: 9/23/2014