The Illuminated Books of William Blake, Volume 4: The Continental Propheciesby William Blake, David Worrall (Editor)
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 attempts to point a way toward the process of millennial liberation.The Urizen Books, made up of "Urizen," "The Book of Los," and "Ahania," describes the dissemination of the autocratic mythology of Urizen, Blake's inflexibly rationalist and myopic law-giver. These books stand as the author's sensible and considered response to the events of his time. The illuminated text of "Urizen" and the ten full- page illustrations from copy D in the British Museum, never before reproduced, represent a tour de force in Blake's specialist process of color printing.These volumes complete the six-part series of William Blake's Illuminated Books, including Jerusalem, Songs of Innocence and of Experience (now available in paperback), The Early Illuminated Books, and Milton, A Poem, all published by Princeton University Press.
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