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William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, ed. Michael Phillips


J. B. Mertz

There are nine known complete copies (A-I) of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Michael Phillips’s edition reproduces the copy (B) bequeathed to the Bodleian Library by the antiquarian Francis Douce (1757-1834). In addition to the variations that make all copies of Blake’s illuminated books distinct, copy B is further distinguished by its frontispiece illustration, the etching entitled “Our End Is Come,” which is not a part of any other known copy of The Marriage. The Marriage is the only undated illuminated book produced by Blake while he lived in Lambeth. However, “Our End Is Come” bears the date “June 5: 1793,” and Phillips’s introduction and commentary offer a detailed exploration of The Marriage in relation to the intellectual and cultural milieux of the early 1790s that appear to have influenced Blake as he produced one of his most celebrated works. Phillips also describes the materials and methods of printmaking during the period in his account of how Blake may have etched, printed, and colored an illuminated work like The Marriage.


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