The Cynic Sang: The Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly Blog

September 30, 2016

Subjective Image Processing?

Filed under: Digital Humanities — glassgrant @ 9:33 am

In my role as Assistant Project Manager, I respond to the many requests for reproducing content from the William Blake Archive, of which the overwhelming majority are for images (a surprise to me). One of the most memorable request so far was a patron asking if he could screen-print one of the images on his home stereo cover. While this was a strange request and much different than the normal reproduction requests for publication, it tells us that the images in the archive contain a tremendous power outside of academic use. I wondered how I can locate that power. (more…)

September 27, 2016

Blake Quarterly giveaway

Filed under: Blake Quarterly — Sarah Jones @ 7:36 am

No, we’re not giving away the Blake Quarterly (though sometimes we would like to). I previously promised a couple of giveaways to celebrate the fiftieth volume of the journal. The first is something that I would very much like, and I hope it will be equally appealing to others who are interested in Blake.


September 22, 2016

Laocoön and Languages

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Rich @ 8:43 pm

At least twice in the last month or so, I have found myself transcribing an object that contains writing in a language other than English. Both times I was told that the best way to find out how to handle the foreign language text would be to find an earlier instance of an object with such text on it and look at the BAD file for that object. Laocoön has become the go-to source when I go looking for a precedent for transcription of foreign language text. (more…)

September 14, 2016

A Little Slack

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , — Eric Loy @ 2:49 pm

The Blake Archive Northern Division, up here in Rochester, met yesterday with our full complement of new and returning members. More than a dozen people! How did that happen?

Well, it probably happened because we generally smell good, don’t bite, and Morris often regales the group with tales of his culinary adventures. In any event, numbers are up, and quite significantly. And this presents new challenges of coordination and communication. You can probably see where this is going…

The Blake Archive group in Rochester is now on Slack. (more…)

September 1, 2016

Index initiatives and my weasel words

Filed under: Blake Quarterly — Tags: — Sarah Jones @ 2:50 pm

Recently I updated the journal’s index to include links to articles published in the 1980s, which are now freely available in the Blake Archive’s repository of Blake Quarterly back issues. The archive released these articles at the end of April; in the first part of the summer my colleagues in the archive team here at Rochester added the links to the index before I checked them and published the revised version. Of course the archive has since released issues from the 1960s (at my behest, so I have no one to blame but myself), which means that the task of adding links for their contents now lurks on my to-do list. (more…)

August 30, 2016

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell copy A

Filed under: Publications — Tags: , — Andrea H. Everett @ 4:10 pm

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of an electronic edition of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell copy A, from the Houghton Library, Harvard University. It joins copy B from the Bodleian Library, copies C and F from the Morgan Library and Museum, copy D from the Library of Congress, copies E, H, and I from the Fitzwilliam Museum, and copy G from the Houghton Library. The Archive has now published all nine (more…)

August 23, 2016

Marks of weakness: Marginalia and Comments 

Filed under: Uncategorized — oishanisengupta @ 2:44 pm

Since I’ve just joined Team Marginalia, Laura said it might be useful for me to take a look at a few books and articles that discuss marginalia in general and Blake’s in particular. I’ve been browsing through them in the last couple of days and I thought others might find a few of their remarks about marginalia to be of interest. For instance, while Mark O’Connell’s article in the New Yorker ( considers the reader’s collaborative engagement with other readers a fundamental affordance of marginalia, he also emphasizes the intimate nature of marginalia as writing – the private, often perhaps emotional conversation between book and reader that it might be indecent to peep into. Jason Snart on the other hand views Blake’s marginalia as disruptive. The “mark”  poses a challenge to the monolithic authority of the printed text, exposing its weakness and thereby opening it up for argument, discussion, appropriation and rejection (Jason Snart, The Torn Book 124). He focuses more on the competitive nature of marginalia rather than the qualities of affection  and intimacy. Here are examples of cases where Blake agrees vehemently with the author and where he equally vehemently disagrees: (more…)

August 17, 2016

Macro Blake

Filed under: BAND — Eric Loy @ 2:05 pm

This summer I attended DHSI at U Victoria, a trip made possible through the support of the Mellon Fellowship in DH here at UR. I had the great fortune to take James O’Sullivan’s course on Computation and Literary Criticism. (I also had the great fortune to eat at Red Fish Blue Fish, like, four times in five days.)

As one could guess, we learned a lot about distant reading and macroanlytic approaches to literary study, focusing on the technological pragmatics. So: we messed around in RStudio, creating stylometric cluster dendrograms; we dumped huge corpuses into Voyant Tools; we experimented with an open source Topic Modeling app (and talked about how mathematically insane topic modeling is).

The Blake Archive, of course, contains a trove of text that’s easily mineable from the backend. (Our tech editor Mike Fox emailed me plain text files of all Archive transcriptions for my experimenting.) Here are a couple of results from those experiments: (more…)

August 9, 2016

A Groundhog Summer

Filed under: Uncategorized — rlbetts92 @ 11:30 am

This summer, members of BAND have made serious headway on numerous projects. Receipts and letters have been transcribed and edited, many transcriptions have been proofread, provenance information has been collected, and Teams Marginalia and Color Code have been working to make guidelines for these projects as a whole.

As I wrap up my work with the Archive, I decided to deviate from posting specifically about my work, instead, choosing to write about a family of groundhogs living outside the window of the Archive Office. If you follow us on Twitter, you may have read Sarah’s posts about them in late May. Regardless, they provided much amusement for us working at the Archive over the summer. Sometimes, we’d take breaks to watch the young groundhogs playing, and on more than one occasion, we found ourselves looking up information about them online–in lieu of working on Blake… (more…)

July 22, 2016

Blake Quarterly summer issue

Filed under: Blake Quarterly — Sarah Jones @ 8:51 am

The first issue in our fiftieth volume (vol. 50, no. 1, summer 2016) was published this week ( It contains: (more…)

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