Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Professor Nicholas Warner

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This thesis engages in a close reading and interpretation of William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The first chapter examines his visionary imagery, symbolism, and language in The Songs. The second chapter explores his nuanced views on love and sexuality – addressing both a pure, mutually pleasurable love as well as a darker, destructive form of love. Lastly, I discuss his critique of the Church as a repressive and corrupt institution. In each chapter I draw from both Blake’s poetry and visual art. Through this extensive study of Blake’s Songs, I present crucial insights on three key, interrelated themes that are central to the collection. This thesis demonstrates the thematic complexity behind Blake’s often deceptively simple Songs of Innocence and of Experience.