The Visionary Imagination: William Blake- Innocence & Experience Week 2


We had another wonderful engagement with some of the core ideas underpinning Blake’s vision of the states of the human psyche that are so powerfully dramatized through the contrast between his two books The Songs of Innocence and The Songs of Experience. We looked today especially at the two Nurse’s Songs, one presenting the state of containment and inner quiet, the other the state of jealousy and internal disquiet. We then followed up this contrast by looking at “The Laughing Song” contrasted with “London”, two poems which reveal the powerful differences between the two worlds (innocence and experience) that these works dramatize. Blake’s quote from his “Auguries of Innocence”  seems to summarize his sense of how we need to know and understand both sides of our human nature, the states of both innocence and experience, in order to navigate our world effectively:

Man was made for Joy & Woe;

And when this we rightly know

Thro’ the World we safely go.

For your listening pleasure find our discussions here on these poems:

Today’s Audio Tutorial 1

Today’s Audio Tutorial 2

Today’s Audio Lecture

Visual Slides accompanying the lecture:

Blake Images

We also showed today another large section of the wonderful film on Blake’s Life and Times Singing For England Blake’s Life and Ideas  Sadly this film has been removed from youtube, but some of the key speakers from that film are also presented in this video- enjoy!


For those of you wanting to get a head start on your blogs in this unit can I suggest a few hot topics for the next couple of weeks:

CRITICAL: Can you summarize your sense of what the core of Ginsberg’s vision of Blake is in his “Sunflower Sutra”?

CREATIVE: In a poem or short prose piece describe a situation where you have either seen or experienced a dramatic different in the state of a human being and its impact on the world around.

REMEMBER: You are always permitted to create your own topic based on something that is presented in class or on something that what we have spoken of in class has triggered either in your own experience or your own memory.




Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: