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…)
April 2, 2015
March 11, 2015
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
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
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
Congratulations to Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly for its recent publication of its Fall 2014 issue!
October 3, 2014
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
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
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…)
July 2, 2014
I’ve always been a fan of those “On This Day” features you often see in newspapers and now online. This is probably picked up from my Dad who has a wonderful memory for dates and can usually be relied upon to find and remember the most random coincidences (for example, did you know that Kublai Khan and Bruce Springsteen share a birthday?). As we get ready for 4 July celebrations here in the US, I thought I’d spend this post thinking about today, a less remembered date but significant in its own way.
So here we go: On This Day, 2 July, the Battle of Marston Moor was fought, Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan disappeared over the Pacific Ocean, a UFO crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, and Hermann Hesse celebrated his birthday. Also on 2 July (note that seamless transition), Blake wrote a letter to his patron and friend, George Cumberland. (more…)
June 18, 2014
In the past month, I’ve transitioned from working on Blake’s letters and begun transcribing and building the BAD for “The Phoenix,” a newly discovered work by Blake whose provenance is (most conveniently) recorded in Bentley’s Blake Books supplement, one of BAND’s go-to reference works. Written in various shades of colored ink (and in a careful, vastly neater hand than Blake’s normal handwriting), “The Phoenix” is a brief, charming piece of verse dedicated to Mrs. Elizabeth Butts, wife of Thomas Butts, a clerk in the office of Britain’s Commissionary General of Musters and one of Blake’s main patrons from the years 1794-1806. (more…)