Published in 1947, "Fearful Symmetry" was Northrop Frye's first book and the product of over a decade of intense labour. Drawing readers into the imaginative world of William Blake, Frye succeeded in making Blake's voice and vision intelligible to the wider public. Distinguished by its range of reference, elegance of expression, comprehensiveness of coverage, coherence of argument, and sympathy to its subject, "Fearful Symmetry" was immediately recognized as a landmark of Blake criticism. Fifty years later, it is still recognized as having ensured the acceptance of Blake as a canonical poet by permanently dispelling the widespread notion that he was the mad creator of an incomprehensible private symbolism.
For this new edition, the text has been revised and corrected in accordance with the principles of the Collected Works of Northrop Frye series. Frye's original annotation has been supplemented with references to currently standard editions of Blake and others, and many new notes have been provided, identifying quotations, allusions, and cultural references. An introduction by Ian Singer provides biographical and critical context for the book, an overview of its contents, and an account of its reception.
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