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. In 1949 the William Blake Trust was founded to bring these rare, in some cases unique, works to a wider general audience through the publication of superbly produced facsimiles of each book. By the late 1980's these facsimiles had themselves become rare books. The Trust accordingly resolved to initiate a collected edition that would publish accurate reproductions of all the Illuminated Books to be accompanied by notes and commentaries by leading Blake scholars. Songs of Innocence and of Experience, one of the best known of the books, is now reproduced in paperback for the first time from the King's College, Cambridge copy--sometimes known as "Blake's own copy." The poems have been edited with introduction, notes, commentaries, and bibliography.
David Bindman is Durning-Lawrence Professor of the History of Art at University College, London. Andrew Lincoln is Lecturer in English at Queen Mary's and Westfield College, University of London.