In his " Illuminated' books ", as he called them, William Blake combined text and image in a single page in a way that had not been clone since the Middle Ages. He saw religion and politics, intellect and emotion, mind and body as both unified and in conflict with each other: his work is expressive of his personal mythology, and his methods of conveying it were integral to its meaning. To read books such as " Jerusalem ", " America ", and " Songs of Innocence and of Experience " in cold letterpress bears no comparison with seeing them as Blake conceived them, infused with his sublime and exhilarating colours.
At times tiny figures and forms dance among the lives of the text, flamesappear to burn up the page, and dense passages of Biblical-sounding text are brought to a jarring hait by startling images of death, destruction and liberation. Original copies of the books exist only in minute numbers. Each is different. Now the plates from The William Blake Trust's Collected Edition, reproducing a fine example of each book, are brought together in a single volume, with transcripts of the texts, and an introduction by the noted Blake scholar David Bindman.
They can at last become part of the lives of all loyers of art and poetry.