No work has challenged its readers like Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. His `Proverbs of Hell' have been culled for the slogans of student protest and become axioms of modern thought. Iconoclastic, bizarre, unprecedented, it is all of these. Most extraordinary is the revolutionary method of its making. The Bodleian Library copy is one of the first that Blake printed using the method he called `Illuminated Printing' and the only work in which he signifies its importance.
This new edition includes a complete facsimile of the work, together with a transcript, and a plate-by-plate guide to text, the interlinear figures, and the larger designs, supplied in the commentary. Drawings from Blake's Manuscript Notebook used as a basis for the designs together with working proof impressions are reproduced in this volume, showing how the work evolved.
In a special section, the same plate from each of the other eight surviving copies is also reproduced to show how over a period of more than 30 years Blake altered the way each copy was finished. The introduction discusses the work's literary and historical background, the printing process used to produce it and the question of why the work was published without an imprint identifying the author and printer.
Michael Phillips, formerly Reader in the Department of English and Related Literature, is now Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York. He has published extensively on Blake and was guest curator of major exhibitions of Blake held in London, New York, and Paris.