The Cynic Sang: The (Un)Official Blog of the William Blake Archive

October 3, 2014

Transcribe what you (think) you see?

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , , — mwils31 @ 11:00 am

One of the main principles at the Blake Archive, is “transcribe what you see.” This has been useful in making many editorial choices about how to represent an image of a work on a digital page. As Laura discussed in her Sept. 24th post, there is sometimes a tension between what we read and what we see. I am currently proofing our transcription of a manuscript known by its first lines, “then She bore Pale desire.” Just like Laura, there are times when I am unsure if I am seeing the manuscript or reading the manuscript. One example of this deals with the spacing between handwritten characters: (more…)

September 10, 2014

Toe the Line: Defining (Part 1)

Filed under: BAND, XML — Tags: , , , , , , , , — Laura Whitebell @ 5:11 pm

One of the main ways that we organize Blake Archive works while encoding is through “line groups”, an element represented by <lg> in our BADs (Blake Archive Description). Here’s the formal definition from our documentation:

<lg>. This element identifies line groups–i.e., blocks of text on the object, such as stanzas or paragraphs. For verse, simply use <lg>, but for prose text (i.e., not poetry), use the type with value “prose”: e.g., <lg type=”prose”>.

As BAND has been preparing typographic works for publication, we have encountered a number of new transcription, display and encoding problems related to “secondary text” (discussed most recently by Eric here and Megan here) including one that questions the status of our beloved <lg>. So, riddle me this Ye Transcription Gods, if poetry is <lg> and prose  is <lg type=”prose”>, then what is text that is neither poetry nor prose? For example, most of our typographic works include a running header across the top of the page, how should we categorize that?

(more…)

August 20, 2014

Professional Level Proofing

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , , — mwils31 @ 2:00 pm

At the Blake Archive, we strive for god-like workmanship. As such, proofreading for sinful mistakes is an important step in our process. Currently, we have several publications “on-deck” for publishing, but this means that several eyes have to pass over those documents. I am currently proofing a typographical work called Poetical Sketches. (more…)

July 2, 2014

On This Day: 2 July

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , — Laura Whitebell @ 1:46 pm

I’ve always been a fan of those “On This Day” features you often see in newspapers and now online. This is probably picked up from my Dad who has a wonderful memory for dates and can usually be relied upon to find and remember the most random coincidences (for example, did you know that Kublai Khan and Bruce Springsteen share a birthday?). As we get ready for 4 July celebrations here in the US, I thought I’d spend this post thinking about today, a less remembered date but significant in its own way.

So here we go: On This Day, 2 July, the Battle of Marston Moor was fought, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, a UFO crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, and Hermann Hesse celebrated his birthday. Also on 2 July (note that seamless transition), Blake wrote a letter to his patron and friend, George Cumberland. (more…)

June 18, 2014

“find Thee a friend”: Blake, Thomas Butts, and Patronage

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , — Shannon Jaime @ 2:18 pm

In the past month, I’ve transitioned from working on Blake’s letters and begun transcribing and building the BAD for “The Phoenix,” a newly discovered work by Blake whose provenance is (most conveniently) recorded in Bentley’s Blake Books supplement, one of BAND’s go-to reference works. Written in various shades of colored ink (and in a careful, vastly neater hand than Blake’s normal handwriting), “The Phoenix” is a brief, charming piece of verse dedicated to Mrs. Elizabeth Butts, wife of Thomas Butts, a clerk in the office of Britain’s Commissionary General of Musters and one of Blake’s main patrons from the years 1794-1806. (more…)

June 11, 2014

A Transcription Puzzle: “then She bore Pale desire”, Part 3

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , — Andrea H. Everett @ 2:16 pm

In my last post, we were left wondering what the “P&S.” or “E&S.” written at the bottom of one of the “Pale desire” manuscript pages could mean.  (If you haven’t been keeping up, you can find the first and second installments of our saga here and here.)  Well, Sandy and I both took a stab at it. (more…)

May 21, 2014

A Transcription Puzzle: “then She bore Pale desire”, Part 2

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , — Andrea H. Everett @ 11:41 am

The other week, I posted an entry concerning my transcription of a set of manuscript pages beginning “then She bore Pale desire”. At the bottom of one of the pages, what seems to be an abbreviation is written in pencil marks that have either faded over time or were initially written with a series of light strokes. Here’s the image again:

Andrea2 (more…)

May 8, 2014

A Transcription Puzzle: “then She bore Pale desire”, Part 1

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , — Andrea H. Everett @ 11:00 am

I am currently in the process of transcribing some of Blake’s manuscript material beginning “then She bore Pale desire” and have run into some difficulty. At the bottom of object 5, Blake adds additional text in a rough hand using pencil. (The majority of the object is covered in brown ink.) I can read the text at the bottom right (which is an addition, the placement of which is indicated by a line). However, there is also what appears to be an abbreviation at the bottom left. I cannot make it out with certainty, and it is not connected to the rest of the text (in any obvious way, at least). (more…)

April 17, 2014

“till the Cold is gone”: Blake, Rochester NY and talking about the weather

Filed under: BAND, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Laura Whitebell @ 1:23 pm

Being British, one of my favourite pastimes is talking about the weather (usually in a tone of complaint whilst drinking a cup of tea, of course), and I’ve always considered myself to be rather good at it — that is, until I moved to western New York. The Rochester snow makes a bit of British rain seem like a pleasant shower, a February blizzard makes London fog charmingly atmospheric and the dramatic temperature fluctuations make grabbing your coat in the morning as simple as remembering to brush your teeth. This week, for example, has seen alterations in weather from 80 degrees and sunshine to 25 degrees and snow (27° to -3° for our Celsius-loving readers). Anyway, as I was thinking this over, I started wondering what Blake thought about the weather. (more…)

April 8, 2014

Day of DH 2014

Filed under: BAND, Day of DH, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Laura Whitebell @ 5:30 pm

Welcome to BAND’s 2014 Day of DH post where we answer the question, “just what do digital humanists do?” (more…)

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