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

October 21, 2014

William Blake: Apprentice and Master

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Sarah Jones @ 2:44 pm

An exhibition curated by the Blake scholar Michael Phillips is opening at the Ashmolean in just over a month and will run until March. It will contain works from a number of institutions, as well as a recreation of Blake’s studio from his time at Hercules Buildings in Lambeth. There are lots of associated events being planned, most notably an Inspired by Blake festival in Oxford for two weeks in January.

Many thanks to Theresa Nicolson at the Ashmolean for sending us the flier:

 

EXH1039-Blake-FlyerV3

October 15, 2014

Funky Transcriptions in Genesis

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , — mspeer2014 @ 1:35 pm

I’ve been proofreading the Genesis manuscript (for longer than I’d like to admit), and surprisingly, I’m finding myself implementing a really basic rule of the archive for more or less the first time. The only other handwritten works I’ve ever proofed or transcribed were all letters. Since letters are basically one of a kind, and there are few guideposts besides common sense to indicate what Blake is saying most of the time, if a word or a letter looks funky, I transcribe it funkily. The “transcribe what you see” rule is very straightforward in these cases. (more…)

October 8, 2014

OK With Unclear: Transcribing Difficult Texts

Filed under: BAND, XML — Tags: , , , , — Eric Loy @ 12:56 pm

In Rochester, we get a little caught up with transcription practices. It’s not [entirely] our fault. The Blakeians at UNC-Chapel Hill focus on Blake illustrations while the manuscript/language stuff gets sent up north. Blake’s often mystifying script surrounds us, and we have been charged (by God, sure) to transcribe our way out, into the promised land of textual clarity.

During this process, we think unreasonably hard about impossibly small details. Is that a period or a comma? (What is our policy on commas again?) Is that “d” really there? Am I seeing things? Wait, or did I read it?

If you ever wanted to bridge the gap between punctuation and existentialism, textual editing may be for you. (more…)

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 30, 2014

Publication Announcement – Illustrations to Thomas Gray’s poems

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , — Andrea H. Everett @ 1:39 pm

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of a fully searchable electronic edition of Blake’s 116 water color illustrations to Thomas Gray’s poems. The Archive first published these designs in April 2005 in our Preview mode. This republication substantially increases the number and range of Blake’s pictorial motifs available for searching on the Archive. (more…)

September 29, 2014

“And Now Begins a New life”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Sarah Jones @ 3:18 pm

Milton copy D, pl. 36. Library of Congress (image from the Blake Archive).

Blake was full of optimism and sea air when he wrote to John Flaxman after he and Catherine arrived at the cottage in Felpham (though he did remark on the amount of luggage—mostly his stuff, not hers). He immortalized it in Milton pl. 36 and is now immortalized in turn by a blue plaque on the wall. A postcard from the early twentieth century shows the house surrounded by cruciferous vegetables in a scene rather more prosaic than that depicted by Blake. (more…)

September 24, 2014

Transcribe what you…read?

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , — Laura Whitebell @ 8:35 pm

As Eric discussed last week, a group of us have been working on Vala, or The Four Zoas : a project that has been occupying a large chunk of my emotional and intellectual energy lately. It’s pretty intimidating to tackle a work that is notoriously difficult and the realisation that our early transcription attempts break the way that the Archive currently handles and displays text has been disheartening. However, looking on the bright side, pushing a system to its limits actually helps you to understand it more fully, which not only affects future work but has helped me to think more deeply about past and current projects. (more…)

September 17, 2014

Transparency is Collaboration

Filed under: XML — Tags: , , , , — Eric Loy @ 2:41 pm

A few of us at the Blake Archive are working on new markup strategies for the infamously difficult Blake manuscript known editorially as Vala, or the Four Zoas. There’s a great (great, great…) deal to be said–and will be said, eventually–about that project specifically, but first a note on some recent collaboration.

(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…)

September 3, 2014

Herding Cats

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , — Eric Loy @ 11:19 am

Changes in the weather, conspicuous coffee consumption, two or three return trips to Staples–the advent of a new semester can mean many things. The Great Leveler in academia, of course, is scheduling. We must be many places at many times, and we forever must coordinate ourselves against the variables (and the universe, in general, that conspires against us). (more…)

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