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Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience

In Songs of Innocence most of the poems are about infancy and are written in a childlike way but at the same time introduce a prophetic tone and a visionary element. Childhood represents a state of the soul and an innocent view of life.
Songs of Experience was added in 1794: man cannot remain always a child but has to grow and go through the stage of experience. The two works (Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience) are meant to contrast with one another but are, at the same time, complementary. The second collection portrays the world of adult life and constructs a parallel universe where people are selfish and incapable of spontaneity.
So, Blake has a dual vision of life: his view of the interdependence of good and evil and of desire and frustration; two states that coexist in the human being. We see the working of these contraries in the poems “Infant Joy” and “Infant Sorrow”, where Infant Joy is happy to be born because he does not yet know what he has lost in coming into existence. It is the poet who must tell him, through the full meaning of his words to the child only becomes apparent after having read “Infant Sorrow”.
The interdependence of the poems in Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience extends to their language, whose meaning changes depending on whether it is read it is read “innocently” or with the eyes of “experience”.

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