Songs of Innocence and of Experience showing the two contrary states of the human soul... edited and prefaced by Richard Herne Sheperd.

London: Pickering, 1868. Small 8vo, xii, 112 pp, plus 8 pp of Pickering's publication advertisments at the front. Very good in original brown cloth, with paper spine label printed in red, slightly darkened and chipped at one end without loss of letters. New edition, taken largely from the 1866 edition with some slight changes, including an expanded preface and two more poems. Although a typographic issue of the Songs had appeared in 1839 and Gilchrist and Rossetti had included them in the 1863 biography, neither of those versions were faithful to Blake’s original text, with Rossetti in particular standing accused of efforts at “improvement”. The editor of this edition (Richard Herne Shepherd) gives for the first time in accessible form the exact text of Blake’s idiosyncratic engraved publications of 1789 and 1794 (only twenty-two complete copies of each of which survive) though omitting lines from “Mary” and from “Auguries of Innocence” which contained the word “whore”. The additional poems, two of them previously unpublished, are printed from Blake’s original manuscripts. Bentley, BB, 335 B. (Item Id: 108777)

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