A GRAIN OF SAND by William Blake


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That ""grain of sand"" seems to be swelling: three collections for young people are currently available, perhaps in response to the contemporaneity of Blake's mind-expanding visions and his devotion to freedom of the spirit. The introduction here offers a detailed survey of his life, including a vivid account by his friend Samuel Palmer, as well as a discussion of the poet's creative progression from the early lyrics to the prophetic books. The contents are standard: excerpts from The Songs of Innocence and Experience. ""Jerusalem,"" ""Vala, or the Four Zoas,"" and other later works. Both this and the Malcolmson edition are enhanced by Blake's engravings; but the Malcolmson has excellent prefatory notes for individual poems, also a more original selection. (The Crowell Poets edition lacks the engravings and the notes, is less enterprising generally.) Since two-thirds of the contents duplicate the Malcolmson, it is distinctly a second choice.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1968
Publisher: Watts