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Lambeth in William Blake’s The Garden of Love

:: 4 Works Cited
Length: 1050 words (3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
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William Blake’s “The Garden of Love” was first published in book two of Blake’s famous work, Songs of Innocence and of Experience: Shewing the Two Contrary States of the Human Soul. The first book in this series, The Songs of Innocence, deals with simplistic themes and a benevolent God. In 1794’s The Songs of Experience, however, Blake portrays the other, darker side of the human soul and a tyrannous God of repression. Blake’s use of vivid imagery and contradiction in “The Garden of Love” is intriguing especially when considering the historical and biographical contexts in which the work was composed.



Many Romantic works come from both the poet’s individual perceptions as well as the social consciousness of that era. “The Garden of Love” is no exception. This poem functions to brutally satirize both the oppression of the Church, which had a societal impact, and the urbanization of Lambeth, which had a personal impact on Blake’s life. As Blake has been known to do, he utilizes contrast to make the decay of his world blatant to the reader. Such contrasting is visibl...


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Works Cited

Ackroyd, Peter. Blake. New York: Ballantine, 1995.

Blake, William. “The Garden of Love.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

Vol. 2. Ed. M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt. 7th ed. New York: Norton, 2000. 56.

Reinhart, Charles. “William Blake (1757-1827).” Dictionary of Literary Biography 93:

British Romantic Poets, 1789-1832. Ed. John Greenfield. New York: Gale, 1990. 14-56.

Schorer, Mark. William Blake: The Politics of Vision. New York: Vintage, 1959.

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