[Humanist] 23.147 more of William Blake online

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Jul 10 09:00:43 CEST 2009


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 23, No. 147.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
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        Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 13:01:54 -0400 (EDT)
        From: William S Shaw <wsshaw at email.unc.edu>
        Subject: Update to the William Blake Archive

9 July 2009

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of 
electronic editions of _The Song of Los_ copies C and E, from the Morgan 
Library and Museum and the Huntington Library and Art Gallery 
respectively. They join copies A and D from the British Museum and copy B 
from the Library of Congress, giving the Archive five of the six extant 
copies of this illuminated book.

The eight plates of _The Song of Los_ were produced in 1795; all extant 
copies (A-F) were color printed in that year in a single pressrun. Divided 
into sections entitled "Africa" and "Asia," _The Song of Los_ is the last 
of Blake's "Continental Prophecies" (see also _America_ [1793] and 
_Europe_ [1794], exemplary printings of which are in the Archive). Blake 
abandons direct references to contemporary events to pursue the junctures 
among biblical narrative, the origins of law and religion, and his own 
developing mythology. Adam, Noah, Socrates, Brama, Los, Urizen, and 
several others represent both historical periods and states of 
consciousness. The loose narrative structure reaches towards a vision of 
universal history ending with apocalyptic resurrection.

Plates 1, 2, 5, and 8 (frontispiece, title page, and full-page designs) 
are color printed drawings, executed on millboards and printed in the 
planographic manner of--and probably concurrent with--the twelve Large 
Color Printed Drawings of 1795, which are also in the Archive. Plates 3 
and 4, which make up "Africa," and plates 6 and 7, which make up "Asia," 
were executed first, side by side on two oblong pieces of copper (plates 
3/4, 6/7). Initially designed with double columns in landscape format, the 
texts of the poems were transformed into vertical pages by printing the 
oblong plates with one side masked. In copies C and E, plates 5 and 8 are 
differently arranged: 8 follows plate 1 and 5 is placed at the end in copy 
C; 8 follows plate 3 and 5 follows plate 6 in copy E.

Like all the illuminated books in the Archive, the text and images of _The 
Song of Los_ copies C and E are fully searchable and are supported by our 
Inote and ImageSizer applications. With the Archive's Compare feature, 
users can easily juxtapose multiple impressions of any plate across the 
different copies of this or any of the other illuminated books. New 
protocols for transcription, which produce improved accuracy and fuller 
documentation in editors' notes, have been applied to all copies of _The 
Song of Los_ in the Archive.

With the publication of these copies of _The Song of Los_, the Archive now 
contains fully searchable and scalable electronic editions of seventy 
copies of Blake's nineteen illuminated books in the context of full 
bibliographic information about each work, careful diplomatic 
transcriptions of all texts, detailed descriptions of all images, and 
extensive bibliographies. In addition to illuminated books, the Archive 
contains many important manuscripts and series of engravings, sketches, 
and water color drawings, including Blake's illustrations to Thomas Gray's 
_Poems_, water color and engraved illustrations to Dante's _Divine 
Comedy_, the large color printed drawings of 1795 and c. 1805, the Linnell 
and Butts sets of the _Book of Job_ water colors and the sketchbook 
containing drawings for the engraved illustrations to the _Book of Job_, 
the water color illustrations to Robert Blair's _The Grave_, and all nine 
of Blake's water color series illustrating the poetry of John Milton.

As always, the William Blake Archive is a free site, imposing no access 
restrictions and charging no subscription fees. The site is made possible 
by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the continuing support 
of the Library of Congress, and the cooperation of the international array 
of libraries and museums that have generously given us permission to 
reproduce works from their collections in the Archive.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Ashley Reed, project manager, William Shaw, technical editor
The William Blake Archive






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