The Cynic Sang: The Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly Blog

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…)

July 20, 2016

Some Promising Forays into Transcribing Blake’s Marginalia

Filed under: Uncategorized — Robert Rich @ 3:02 pm

Early last week Team Marginalia decided we were finally ready to develop a test tagset for transcribing Blake’s marginalia. We spent a lot of time trying out this new tagset using Blake’s annotated copy of J.C. Lavater’s Aphorisms on Man

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The above image is a pair of pages from Blake’s annotated copy of Aphorisms on Man. When we transcribe, we will be treating each page, not each pair of pages, as an object. (more…)

July 6, 2016

Why we should be talking more: office chat and DH

Filed under: BAND, Digital Humanities, Uncategorized — Tags: , — jsingles @ 4:46 pm

When I look back over many of the most recent blog posts—Rachel’s about how to use notes with a sense of audience, Oishani’s about Blake’s quirky punctuation, my own about the differences between red wax seals and wafers, and other posts from the past several months—I am not surprised to realize that many of these posts began in the William Blake Archive office as informal conversations about digital editing. I remember Oishani asking my input about how to encode a period under a superscript, and I recall spending the better part of an hour with Laura and Lisa discussing why and how we decide that a letter is sealed by wax or wafer. These conversations are illustrative of one of the greatest benefits of digital humanities projects: the opportunity to collaborate and work with a team of scholars from a variety of backgrounds. (more…)

June 28, 2016

Publication Announcement – First 2.75 volumes of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly published from 1967-69

Filed under: Blake Quarterly, Publications — Tags: , , — Andrea H. Everett @ 12:50 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. Earlier this year we announced the publication of the quarterly’s forty issues from 1980 to 1990. Today we are pleased to publish the first two volumes and three issues of the third volume, 1967-69, of what began as the Blake Newsletter—$2 for four issues. (more…)

June 15, 2016

One Size Fits None

Filed under: BAND, Digital Humanities — Tags: , — Laura Whitebell @ 2:30 pm

An article has just been published in the very first issue of the new journal, Digital Literary Studies called “Encoding the Edge: Manuscript Marginalia and the TEI” by Laura Estill. Nothing could be more timely, given BAND’s new project to encode Blake’s marginalia, and I’m sure that we’ll be referring to this paper over and over again as we press on with our task. (more…)

June 10, 2016

The Blake Quarterly at 50

Filed under: Blake Quarterly — Sarah Jones @ 10:48 am

50The upcoming volume year is our fiftieth, an anniversary that seems perversely inevitable given Morton Paley’s words in the first issue of 15 June 1967: “I think the Newsletter should be just that—not an incipient journal.” That issue included a report on the rediscovery of the Small Blake-Varley Sketchbook and solicited opinions on the dating of the two Nights the Seventh in The Four Zoas.

Morton has been the editor since the beginning, and Morris Eaves for almost that long. Thanks to them and to all those who have contributed and given support, we have reached a milestone that we intend to celebrate in our usual small but mighty fashion.


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…)

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