The Illuminated Books of William Blake, Volume 4: The Continental Prophecies

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If the Urizen books contain Blake's account of Genesis, written and depicted from the 'devilish' perspective of a 'Bible of Hell', then the continental prophecies present his critical reckoning with the history of his own times, a fascinatingly complex and multi-faceted account of the struggle between revolutionary counter-revolutionary thought of the first half of the 1790s. In America, the first of the continental poems, Blake moves away from his earlier mode of historical allegory and enters the realm of ...
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large 4to in full brown cloth and illustrated dustwrapper. Slight waviness to the block and light soiling to the back panel of the dustwrapper. This series is easily the best ... that's been done on Blake's illuminated books, both in terms of graphics and extensive commentary. Dustwrapper in a fresh mylar sleeve. Board tips are sharp Read more Show Less

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Hardcover Used-Very Good These last volumes in the series of William Blake's Illuminated Books reveal the writer and artist as a prophet driven by a sense of apocalyptic ... urgency. Blake conceived and executed The Continental Prophecies and The Urizen Books in the early 1790s, capturing the intellectual and spiritual turmoil of the American and French revolutions. Here, for the first time, the general reader will encounter Blake's most intense vision in reproductions that do justice to the originals, accompanied by texts, comprehensive notes and commentaries, and detailed interpretations of the designs. The Continental Prophecies, which comprises America, Europe, and The Song of Los, presents Blake's critical reckoning with the history of his own times. Marked by a particularly close integration of word and image, the books form a mythical plot from historical events and criticize the intricate structure of social oppression that the author attributes to organized state religion. Each of the three books a Read more Show Less

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Overview

If the Urizen books contain Blake's account of Genesis, written and depicted from the 'devilish' perspective of a 'Bible of Hell', then the continental prophecies present his critical reckoning with the history of his own times, a fascinatingly complex and multi-faceted account of the struggle between revolutionary counter-revolutionary thought of the first half of the 1790s. In America, the first of the continental poems, Blake moves away from his earlier mode of historical allegory and enters the realm of prophetic utterance. In poetry and imagery alike, Blake's prophecies follow Old Testament models in the sense that they are less concerned with prediction than with the process of social and political criticism. While America still contains many historical references, these are integrated in a mythical 'plot' that transcends the narrow confines of historical reportage and pamphleteering. In Europe and in 'Africa' and 'Asia' (the two parts that make up The Song of Los) Blake is even less concerned with concrete historical events than in developing the myth of Orc and Urizen, Enitharmon and Los which describes and criticizes the intricate structure of social oppression that the author saw as resulting from human kind's history under the rule of organised state religion. Each of the three books also attempts to point a way toward the prerequisites for the equally complex process of millenial liberation. The commentary aims to introduce readers of the three books to the structural unity and many-layered meaning of Blake's visual-verbal myth-making, and to guide them through the maze of critical approaches and interpretation that they have elicited.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691036748
  • Publisher: William Blake Trust
  • Publication date: 7/3/1995
  • Series: Blake Series , #4
  • Pages: 372
  • Product dimensions: 8.66 (w) x 12.10 (h) x 1.61 (d)

Table of Contents

PREFACE by David Bindman, General Editor 6
FOREWORD 7
A NOTE ON CITATIONS, ABBREVIATIONS, TEXTS AND VARIANTS 8
THE CONTINENTAL PROPHECIES 11
AMERICA: A PROPHECY
Introduction
Themes and Contexts 27
The Designs 42
Plates, Printings, and Colouring 73
Text and Reproduction 81
Supplementary Illustrations 116
Notes to Blake's Text 127
EUROPE: A PROPHECY
Introduction
Themes and Contexts 141
The Designs 161
Plates, Printings, and Coloring 210
Text and Reproduction 217
Supplementary Illustrations 250
Notes to Blake's Text 266
THE SONG OF LOS
Introduction
Themes and Contexts 287
The Designs 302
Plates, Printing, and Colouring 319
Text and Reproduction 325
Supplementary Illustrations 340
Notes to Blake's Text 347
WORKS CITED 355
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