The Cynic Sang: The Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly Blog

June 2, 2016

Focusing on Audience: How Notes can Help!

Filed under: BAND, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — rlbetts92 @ 2:00 pm

Recently, Oishani posted about the different choices scholars have made in their transcriptions of the “quirky” punctuation in Blake’s receipts. Currently, the protocol has been to attach a note to the specific line of the transcription in which these punctuation discrepancies occur. However, as Oishani points out, though Bentley and Keynes do not treat punctuation systematically, we still have many nearly identical notes about minute differences in punctuation. What is the importance in noting these differences? Should we focus on punctuation in the receipts on a larger scale? Oishani ends her post asking us to consider if it would be more useful to have individual notes on each of the receipts, or to have a set of notes that covers the entire set of receipts and discusses recurring issues like punctuation in detail?



May 27, 2016

Curating a Blake exhibition: Part 2

Filed under: Blake Quarterly — Sarah Jones @ 10:10 am

Part 1 of Michael Phillips’s description of organizing the Ashmolean Blake exhibition of 2014–15 appeared last week. Here is the continuation.

SJ: Once you had the framework of Blake as apprentice and master, how did you determine which other works you wanted to include? What came next?

MP: First I needed to see the galleries that would be used for the exhibition. I also needed to obtain a floor plan to use at home to be able to check the wall space available for hanging exhibits and the floor space available for display cases. (more…)

May 25, 2016

Details, Disagreements, and Decisions

Filed under: Uncategorized — jsingles @ 3:06 pm

While finishing up work on a set of Blake’s letters from the Westminster Archives, I ran across a question that has made me a minor expert on a very minor piece of history: the difference between wafers and wax seals in nineteenth-century England. My curiosity about the difference in these two methods of sealing letters came about when I encountered the following seal on Blake’s Letter to Mr. Butts, 10 January 1802:

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 8.54.25 AM (more…)

May 19, 2016

Curating a Blake exhibition: Part 1

Filed under: Blake Quarterly — Sarah Jones @ 3:17 pm

Every so often I publish a Q&A, and today’s guest is Michael Phillips, guest curator of the William Blake: Apprentice & Master exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, in 2014-15. I had a very murky idea of how an exhibition comes to life, so thought I’d find out. (more…)

May 13, 2016

“only the Contents or Index of already publish’d books”

Filed under: Blake Quarterly, Uncategorized — Sarah Jones @ 11:40 am

Today I published a new version of the journal’s index. I update the index every time we publish an issue, and I don’t usually draw attention to the fact, so you may be wondering what’s special about this occasion.  (more…)

May 6, 2016

Blake’s spectacles

Filed under: Blake Quarterly, Uncategorized — Sarah Jones @ 3:29 pm


Blake’s eyeglasses now live at the Fitzwilliam Museum—here’s the museum’s catalogue record. There’s an image of them in the checklist of publications and discoveries that appeared in our spring 1996 issue (vol. 29, no. 4), at p. 141. (more…)

May 4, 2016

The “Manual” Humanities

Filed under: BAND, Uncategorized — Tags: , — Laura Whitebell @ 11:30 am

One of the things we’ve been endlessly debating in our Team Marginalia meetings has been how to “categorize” the various kinds of inscription we’ve found in our examples of Blake’s annotated books. And this is not to mention the ongoing conversation about how to handle text on the page that is not by Blake, such as the original work itself or editorial apparatus such as page numbers. In an attempt to halt the merry-go-round that these related discussions have become, we tried a new approach at our last meeting, one that we might even call “The Manual Humanities.” (more…)

April 29, 2016

Poetry from the archives of the Blake Quarterly

Filed under: Blake Quarterly — Tags: — Sarah Jones @ 11:29 am

While working on the journal’s index this morning I noticed how many poems we have published over the years. We might go from one year to the next without any verse, but over nearly fifty years we have enough for a chapbook. Since the Blake blog is usually quiet on Fridays, I thought I could use the space to draw attention to some of these poems. (more…)

April 28, 2016

Publication Announcement – Past issues of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly published from 1980-89

Filed under: Publications — Tags: , , — Andrea H. Everett @ 2:10 pm

In 2014 the William Blake Archive added a new wing devoted to searchable HTML and PDF editions of back issues of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, beginning with issues from the years 2000-2009. In 2015 we added the forty issues from 1990 to 2000 and five issues published since 2010.

The Archive is now pleased to announce the publication of the quarterly’s forty issues from 1980 to 1990. (more…)

April 26, 2016

Quirky punctuation?

Filed under: Uncategorized — oishanisengupta @ 7:53 pm

Working on Blake’s receipts has given many of us the occasion to think of small and easy-to-miss problems. Alison’s post about the stamps, demonstrating her detailed observation of their variations and intricacies, is a perfect example. The receipts are a fascinating place for speculation about the fluctuations of Blake’s income as well as a constant source of surprising relief about his consistently neat and legible writing. In this post I thought I’d make a note of an interesting irregularity that I’ve encountered in all the receipts I’ve transcribed: Blake’s placement of the period. When writing “Mr.”, Blake often places the period or a colon in the same space under a superscript “r”:

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 7.12.12 pm                      Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 7.13.18 pm

This phenomenon is difficult to transcribe, and the standard references don’t deal with this problem in a systematic way. In a BAND meeting, we decided to attach a note with each receipt discussing the specific usage and add anything that Bentley or Keynes might say about this, but there is often a  great deal of variation in Bentley and Keynes’ treatment of Blake’s punctuation. Sometimes Blake Records reproduces Blake’s writing exactly, but not always. Bentley often places the period or colon after the superscript, and Keynes omits it quite frequently. Thus, we have many nearly identical notes about minute differences in punctuation, but not much discussion of the fact that the differences in punctuation is such an important aspect of the receipts. This issue led me to think of two questions about how we could address this. First, would it be more useful to have individual notes on each of the receipts that have any such punctuations and record the varying transcriptions in each case, or to have a set of notes that cover the entire set of receipts and discuss recurring issues like interestingly placed periods in greater detail (and I’m thinking about the stamps here as well)? The second question is more generally about a particular project or publication: should a project like the receipts include a list of the issues encountered and the decisions they led to as an aid to others working in digital archiving?

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