The Cynic Sang: The Blake Archive and Blake Quarterly Blog

March 10, 2016

“Streams of Gore” and the Textual Tracking of Visual Motifs

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — katherinecal @ 12:16 pm

As a follow-up to my earlier post, I will continue to explore the potential functions of the textual tag system in the William Blake Archive. In my previous post, I note that the tag “streams of gore” returns 18 hits in 11 different copies of works currently available on the WBA. Although not always the case, this particular collection of images spans almost the entirety of Blake’s career, from 1791 when he began engraving images for John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative, of a Five Years’ Expedition, against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam to his completion between 1824-1827 of illustrations for a version of Dante’s Divine Comedy. These images also form a representative cross-section of the variety in Blake’s production in terms of the types of works he made, including commercial engraving, literary illustration, and illuminated books, as well as preparatory materials related to these. Although one arrives at this suite of images by focusing on a single textual tag, the visual variety within this category not only underscores my earlier point about the greater mutability of visual motifs when compared to text but also the way in which Blake continues to engage and grapple with a single conception—here, perhaps the unlikely, “streams of gore”—throughout his oeuvre. (more…)

May 6, 2015

Poetical Sketches, Take 2

Filed under: Digital Humanities, XML — Tags: , , , , — mwils31 @ 11:11 am

Work that happens in a linear fashion is, generally, very boring. Our work on Blake’s typographical piece Poetical Sketches has certainly avoided that problem.  (more…)

April 2, 2015

Where will we next see Blake? Fakes, forgeries and last night’s TV

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , — meghanholly @ 10:17 am

Currently a Film and Media Preservation Student, masquerading under the heading of English, I am by no means a Blake Scholar. So after I started working for the archive last fall I was always pleasantly surprised when I encountered a reference to Blake in my everyday life. It was like running into a new acquaintance when and where you least expect to. First I saw him referenced in a painting of book spines at MoMA. Then some friends I visited had a beautiful reproduction of one of his illuminated works hanging in their bedroom. Most recently I spotted Blake while watching an episode of USA’s White Collar. The show, which features reformed art thief and talented forger Neal Caffrey, also featured a fake Blake! The specific episode from season five entitled “Live Feed” featured a forged copy of William Blake’s “Last Judgement.” Intrigued by the idea of someone creating a forgery based on the work of William Blake I took to the internet to see what I could find on the subject. (more…)

March 11, 2015

Musings on Marginalia

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , — lvandenb @ 12:00 pm

Here at the Blake Archive Northern Division we have found ourselves thinking a lot about marginalia. There really hasn’t been much else to do this winter with the constant snow, so in fact we have found ourselves thinking and talking, and then thinking and talking some more about marginalia over the past few months. (more…)

December 11, 2014

You say you want a revolution

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , , , , — lvandenb @ 9:28 am

I have been most recently working with Hardeep on Blake’s epic poem, “The French Revolution.” If you remember from an earlier blog post (for all of our regular blog readers!), this is a typographic work that never got past proof form. As a typographic work, the transcription is far more straight forward than a manuscript would be, or so we thought. As I checked our transcription against David Erdman’s The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (one of the standard sources used by the archive), I realized that typographic works can come with their own set of issues. (more…)

December 4, 2014

A Golden Sentence: marginalia and the new tag set

Filed under: BAND, XML — Tags: , , , , , — Laura Whitebell @ 1:16 pm

One of the goals of Team Color Code (sidenote: this is the small group of BAND assistants who are working on The Four Zoas. We’re affectionately known as TCC, which is a name that made sense in our early days and even though it no longer does, it has stuck) is to create a schema that can also be used to tackle transcription and display problems in other works. We’ve always known that the heavily-revised pages of Blake’s Notebook would benefit from an expanded tag set, but I’m starting to come across more and more works that could also use some of the elements that we’re developing in Team Color Code meetings. (more…)

October 29, 2014

Fall 2014 Issue of the Blake Quarterly

Filed under: BAND — Tags: , , — mwils31 @ 11:35 am

Congratulations to Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly for its recent publication of its Fall 2014 issue!


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?


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…)

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