Color Speaks: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: Initial Perceptions.

William Blake wrote The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and chose a specific cover, but four years later he changed it. The overall look and feel from the two covers definitely effect your initial perceptions of the book. If you were to look at the 1790’s version, you would assume that the book had a calmer tone and didn’t include such vulgar things. But looking at the 1794 edition, you would anticipate vulgarity.

In the 1790’s version, the original, the colors are much cooler and relaxed. Also, the pictures on the pages contrast with the text. It almost balances out the page because of the subject matter. Also the pictures look very tranquil and safe which could be a side of marriage. Getting into the 1794’s version, while it is the same general layout of the 1790’s pictures, the colors are different. Everything looks much harsher and congealed. There are no rigid edges, just obscurity. This could be a reference to how marriage might start out all beautiful, safe, and cool, but then turns into a hellish dream where you aren’t connected to reality. I think that recoloring the pictures was either a marketing stunt or a way to express a theme outside of the text. Marriage can be heaven at one point in time, but if one minute detail changes, it is hell in the next.

1. http://www.blakearchive.org/exist/blake/archive/comparison.xq?selection=compare&copies=mhh.e&bentleynum=B3&copyid=mhh.c&java=

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