Today sees the publication of vol. 54, no. 4 (spring 2021). It will be open access until the end of April.
As far as I know, no one discovered The Ancient Britons while cleaning the attic during lockdown, but Bob Essick’s sales review still lists some gems that were offered in 2020: a Blake receipt, a copy of Poetical Sketches, and a prepublication proof of the engraving of the head and shoulders of Queen Philippa for Gough’s Sepulchral Monuments. None of these was new to the market. The proof has several inscriptions in unidentified hands, one of which struck a chord with the copyeditor in me: “Mr Ashley [possibly the writing engraver] your people have made a mistake which appears very / extraordinary as it is very clearly wrote with only one l / Philippa”.
In our other article, “Diagrammatic Blake,” Caroline Anjali Ritchie contends that diagrams that scholars have put forward to make sense of “The Mental Traveller” ultimately fail to represent the complexities of the poem. Her argument and a stanza that she discusses—
The Guests are scatterd thro’ the land
For the Eye altering alters all
The Senses roll themselves in fear
And the flat Earth becomes a Ball
—were the inspiration for the cover of the issue. I took page 5 of the Pickering Manuscript, on which these lines appear, and rolled it into a “Ball.” A banner in the shape of the infinity symbol, the form that one of the “Mental Traveller” diagrams takes, surrounds the sphere, as if trying to contain it.
The latest back issue to become open access in perpetuity is vol. 49, no. 4 (spring 2016). It contains Bob’s “Blake in the Marketplace” feature, along with Ashanka Kumari, “Adding to Blake Set to Music,” which builds on the work of Donald Fitch and is a precursor of the annual lists compiled by Jason Whittaker. Robert W. Rix’s contribution is a note on the sources of All Religions are One, while Martin Butlin adds to the discussion of prepublication proofs of Illustrations of the Book of Job. The issue also includes three reviews: James Rovira on Beth Bentley’s edition of George Cumberland, The Emigrants; Sandy Gourlay on William Pressly, James Barry’s Murals at the Royal Society of Arts; and Whitney Anne Trettien on Roger Whitson and Jason Whittaker, William Blake and the Digital Humanities.