Ackroyd, Peter. Blake: A Biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996. A penetrating biography of the poet.
Beer, John. William Blake: A Literary Life. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005. This biography traces Blake’s life, offering commentary on his religious background and painting a clear picture of the complexity of his poetry as well as his visual artistry.
Bloom, Harold, ed. William Blake. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. A collection of essays on Blake that examine his poetry, including Jerusalem, Milton, and The Four Zoas.
Bruder, Helen P. William Blake and the Daughters of Albion. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997. Bruder’s overt concern is with issues of “women, sexuality, gender, and sexual difference,” but her book is perhaps better regarded as a reassessment of Blake’s relation to popular culture. Bruder presents a thorough and astute reception history. Includes a bibliography and an index.
_______, ed. Women Reading William Blake. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. A collection of critical essays analyzing Blake’s poetry from a feminist criticism perspective.
Frye, Northrop. Fearful Symmetry: A Study of William Blake. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1947. Frye interprets Blake’s myth in terms of archetypal symbolic structures, which he also finds underlying much Western literature and mythology. Almost all later writers have been indebted to Frye, although some contemporary Blake critics are wary of being too captured by his ideas.
Lindsay, David W. Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience. London: Macmillan, 1989. A very informative, if brief, introduction that examines a range of critical approaches to Songs of Innocence and of Experience. Lindsay’s impartial discussions of different interpretations of selected poems will be useful for readers who want a concise survey of the field. The second part of the book gives attention to eight Songs of Experience in the context of Blake’s other works. Includes bibliography.
Percival, Milton O. William Blake’s Circle of Destiny. 1938. Reprint. New York: Octagon Books, 1977. This introduction to Blake’s prophetic books has stood the test of time. Percival demonstrates that Blake’s myth was firmly rooted in a traditional body of thought that included Neoplatonism, Kabala, alchemy, Gnosticism, and individual thinkers such as Jakob Böhme, Paracelsus, Emanuel Swedenborg, and Plotinus.
Roberts, Jonathan. William Blake’s Poetry: A Reader’s Guide. New York: Continuum, 2007. Provides keys to understanding the meaning of Blake’s poetry and the complex images therein.