Author(s): William Blake
Songs of Innocence and Experienceis one of the best-loved poetry collections of all time, an innovative and groundbreaking experiment in which Blake intertwined text and image to dazzling effect. The volume, published sometimes as two separate collections, juxtaposes the innocent world of childhood with the corrupt and repressed one of adults. Many of the poems are in pairs, enabling the reader to see the same situation first from the perspective of innocence and then from that of experience, and the volume includes such favourites as 'The Lamb', 'The Chimney Sweeper' and 'The Tyger'.
William Blake was born in Soho in 1757 and lived in London all of his life, with the exception of three years spent in Bognor Regis. In 1772 Blake became an apprentice engraver and went on to study at the Royal Academy, where he exhibited in 1780. Blake married Catherine Boucher in 1782 and the following year his first 'illuminated book' Poetical Sketches was printed. Blake's talents in both the visual arts and literature have made him a seminal figure of the Romantic period and he is regarded as one of Britain's greatest poets. He died in 1827.