Index Bibliography

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Currently Available:

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy K, 1790 (Fitzwilliam Museum): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy L , 1790 (Collection of Robert N. Essick): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy M , 1790 (Victoria University Library): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy B, 1790 (Bodleian Library): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy C, 1790 (Morgan Library and Museum): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy H, 1790 (Fitzwilliam Museum): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy E, 1794 (Fitzwilliam Museum): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy F, 1794 (Morgan Library and Museum): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy D, 1795 (Library of Congress): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy G, c. 1818 (Houghton Library): electronic edition
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, copy I, 1827 (Fitzwilliam Museum): electronic edition

Dates are the probable dates of printing.

Even within the context of Blake's canon, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell stands out for its combination of genres (e.g., poetry and prose, Menippean satire and cultural history) and its heterodox perspectives. Through the voice of the "Devil," Blake parodies and attacks the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg, the cosmology and ethics of Milton's Paradise Lost, and biblical history and morality as constructed by the "Angels" of the established church and state. Energy and passion are positively valorized; reason and temperance are characterized as restraints on spiritual insight and self-expression. The concluding three plates (25-27), "A Song of Liberty," announce the coming revolution.

Blake etched in relief, with a few touches of white-line work, the twenty-seven plates of The Marriage in 1790. The printing of the same year included three copies in black ink (K, plates 21-24 only, and copies L and M, plates 25-27 only). The complete copies from the first printing are A-C, H. Copies E and F were printed in 1794; large-paper copy D was produced in 1795. Only two later copies are known: G (c. 1818) and I (1827). Copies K, L, and M may have been printed as separate pamphlets. Copy G has a variant arrangement of the plates: 1-11, 15, 14, 12-13, 16-27.

Related Works

Related works currently available in the William Blake Archive appear as links below. Works not currently available appear as plain text.

All Known Copies
  • Copy A, c. 1790
    Houghton Library
    Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Copy L, 1790
    Collection of Robert N. Essick
    Altadena, California
  • Copy M, c. 1790
    Bentley Collection, Victoria University Library
    Toronto, Canada
  • Copy D, 1795
    Rosenwald Collection, Library of Congress
    Washington D.C.
  • Copy G, c. 1818
    Houghton Library, Harvard University
    Cambridge, Massachusetts

All Known Related Drawings
  • Ugolino in Prison (recto), Head of a Man and Small Head of Ugolino (verso)
    Pencil sketches, c. 1780-85. Butlin 207 recto and verso.
    Victoria and Albert Museum
    London
  • Ugolino: "Does Thy God, O Priest, Take Such Vengeance as This?"
    Pen and ink drawing, c. 1780-85. Butlin 208.
    Kunsthalle
    Hamburg, Germany
  • Blake's Notebook, pages 44, 48, 59
    Pencil sketches, c. 1790-93. Butlin 201.44, 48, 59.
    British Library
    London
  • Sketches for "America" and Other Books
    Pencil sketches, c. 1790-93. Butlin 226 recto.
    Estate of Charles A. Ryskamp
    New York City
  • Five Sketches for "America" and Other Works
    Pencil sketches, c. 1790-93. Butlin 227.
    Untraced
  • The Good and Evil Angels
    Water color, c. 1793-94. Butlin 257.
    Cecil Higgins Museum
    Bedford, England
  • Nebuchadnezzar
    Color printed drawing, 1795. Butlin 301.
    Tate Collection at Tate Britain
    London
  • Nebuchadnezzar
    Color printed drawing, 1795. Butlin 302.
    Museum of Fine Arts
    Boston, Massachusetts
  • Nebuchadnezzar
    Color printed drawing, 1795. Butlin 303.
    Minneapolis Institute of Arts
    Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Nebuchadnezzar
    Color printed drawing, 1795. Butlin 304.
    Untraced
  • Nebuchadnezzar
    Pen and ink drawing or monochrome wash drawing, c. 1795 (?). Butlin 305.
    Untraced
  • Illustrations to Young's Night Thoughts, Night VII, Page 27
    Water color, c. 1795-97. Butlin 330.299.
    British Museum
    London
  • Studies for Plate 11 of The Grave, "Death's Door"
    Pencil sketches, c. 1805. Butlin 632 recto and verso.
    Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute
    Pittsburgh, Pennyslvania
  • Deaths Door
    White-line etching, 1805. Essick XIII.
    Collection of Robert N. Essick
    Altadena, California
  • Ugolino and His Sons in Prison
    Pencil sketch, 1824-27. Butlin 812.68.
    British Museum
    London
  • Count Ugolino and His Sons in Prison
    Tempera painting, c. 1826. Butlin 805.
    Fitzwilliam Museum
    Cambridge, England