This study is informed by a knowledge of Blake seen against the background of the "long 18th century". Throughout, the reader is reminded that the Blake of "Songs of Innocence and Experience" shared a century with Fielding, Hogarth and Sterne; the classification of Blake as a "romantic" too often overlooks the form and content of satirical modes with which he was familiar. The study places Blake's "Songs of Innocence" in their historical context, and sites the poet within an historical work that bridges traditional, canonical categories of high culture versus popular culture. The author's aim was to return "innocence" to its original literary-historical context. "Songs of Innocence" and other early writings are included in the text.