Donald A. Dike (essay date December 1961)
SOURCE: Dike, Donald A. “The Difficult Innocence: Blake's Songs and Pastoral.” ELH 28, no. 4 (December 1961): 353-75.
[In the following essay, Dike contends that although Blake writes in the pastoral tradition in Songs of Innocence, he does not portray an idyllic paradise that ignores social realities.]
Blake's Songs of Experience disclose the second, and more recognizable, of two contrary states of the soul to be one or another kind of bondage. The introductory poems identify the soul with Earth: a voluntaristic principle most vividly apprehended in the energies of springtime and the frank delights of love. But love, alas, is cramped and...
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