13.0139 new on WWW: Blake Archive update

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Wed, 18 Aug 1999 07:36:57 +0100 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 13, No. 139.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1999 07:36:58 +0100
From: Matt Kirschenbaum <mgk3k@jefferson.village.virginia.edu>
Subject: Blake Archive's August Update

12 August 1999

The William Blake Archive <http://www.iath.virginia.edu/blake> is
pleased to announce the publication of new electronic editions of copies
B and U of Blake's _Songs of Innocence__.

Copies B and U are a study in contrasts, yet both are from the earliest
printings of this book. Copy B, now in the Rosenwald Collection, Library
of Congress, was printed with fifteen other copies of _Innocence_ in
1789, four of which were later joined with _Experience_ impressions,
printed in 1794, to form _Songs of Innocence and of Experience_ copies
B, C--which is in the Archive--D, and E. Unlike many of these early
copies of _Innocence_, copy B still consists of all 31 plates originally
composed and executed for _Innocence_. Like them, however, it was
printed in a raw sienna ink on 17 leaves and exemplifies Blake's early
printing and coloring style. The plates were wiped of their plate
borders, the illustrations very lightly washed in watercolors, and the
texts left unwashed. This mode of presentation, along with printing both
sides of the leaves to create facing pages, emphasized the prints as
book pages rather than prints or paintings. Good examples of printing
and coloring illuminated plates to look like minatures can be seen in
_Songs_ copy Z, also in the Archive.

_Innocence_ copy U, from the Houghton Library, Harvard University, is an
excellent example of printing illuminated plates to look like prints.
Like etchings and engravings, they were printed on one side of the leaf
in black ink and left uncolored. Copy U, which was printed with untraced
copy V, had been dated c. 1814, because of some stylistic similarities
it shares with illuminated works assumed to have been produced around
that time. But, in fact, copy U is the _first_ copy of _Innocence_
printed. The presence of a unique first state for "Infant Joy" proves
this sequence; the bottom part of the "J" in the title is missing in all
extant impressions, but here it extends into the flower. Copy U was
printed before copy B and all other early copies; the ink color,
printing style (recto only), and lack of hand coloring suggest a date of
printing before Blake had developed his special ways of producing his
illuminated books and instead repeated styles and techniques long
familiar to him as a commercial engraver.

Both electronic editions have newly edited SGML-encoded texts and new
images scanned and color-corrected from first-generation 4x5"
transparencies; they are each fully searchable for both text and images
and supported by the Inote and ImageSizer applications described in our
previous updates.

With the publication of these two titles, the Archive now contains 35
copies of 18 separate books, including at least one copy of every one of
Blake's works in illuminated printing except the 100 plates of
_Jerusalem_ (forthcoming).

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, Technical Editor
The William Blake Archive

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