This landmark edition of William Blake's Visions of the Daughters of Albion provides the first full-size reproduction of the Huntington Library's copy of the work, printed and colored by Blake and his wife, Catherine, in 1793. Generally seen as a continuation of The Book of Thel, this relatively early work of Blake's offers a criticism of the sexual morals of his time, presenting its author's views on the evils of organized religion, on slavery, and on oppressed womanhood. Drawings related to Visions that Blake sketched in his Notebook, now held in the British Library, have been digitally enhanced in the reproductions in this edition and are visible for the first time.
Blake expert Robert Essick explains not just the text but also Blake's invention of the method he used to etch his poetry and designs. A plate-by-plate analysis of the images and text sets the enigmas of Blake's poetry in the clarifying contexts of his life and thought and of contemporary literature and politics.
Robert N. Essick is Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. Among his many books are William Blake, Printmaker, selected by Choice as an Outstanding Academic Book of 1980-81, and William Blake at the Huntington, a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate selection. Essick specializes in British romantic literature and art, particularly William Blake. He is currently working on the Blake Electronic Archive.
"When reading or studying Blake, nothing will substitute for a facsimile of Blake's original illuminated books—other than the original, of course. And a high quality facsimile of one of the most beautiful copies, which is what this volume contains, is something to be cherished."—Jerome J. McGann, University of Virginia