The Book of Thel, William Blake
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Details

The Book of Thel

Author: William Blake

Narrator: Jason Rosette

Unabridged: 0 hr 12 min

Format: Digital Audiobook

Publisher: Findaway Voices

Published: 02/18/2021

Genre: Poetry - English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Synopsis

A short masterpiece by the visionary English romantic poet, William Blake (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; Songs of Innocence and Experience).

In comparison to Blake's later prophetic books, The Book of Thel is relatively short and is easier to understand; this edition is entertainingly read by producer-narrator Jason Rosette.

About the Book of Thel

The Book of Thel was most likely composed between 1788 and 1790. Composed of 14-syllable lines, this short poem was first published as a series of eight plates with illuminated text designed by Blake himself. Following an earlier, lesser-known poem, "Tiriel", The Book of Thel suggests a romantic-visionary response to the timeless question regarding the acquisition of wisdom and knowledge. The poem became known as one of Blake's “Prophetic Books” for its existential interrogations.

Summary

The poem follows Thel, a young shepherdess who wanders through a fantastical pastoral world called the Vales of Har, yearning to understand her purpose. Primarily concerned with her own mortality, various natural entities in her environment, including a cloud and a clod of dirt, offer her insights. The poem is significant for its animistic-natural representation of divinity and its direct handling of the question of existence.

About the author

William Blake (28 November 1757 - 12 August 1827) was an English poet, painter, and printmaker. Largely unrecognised during his lifetime, Blake is now considered a seminal figure in the history of the poetry and visual arts of the Romantic Age. What he called his prophetic works were said by 20th-century critic Northrop Frye to form "what is in proportion to its merits the least read body of poetry in the English language".

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