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Blake’s Divisive “Lord’s Prayer” Marginalia

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been working piecemeal on encoding Blake’s marginalia for Robert Thornton’s The Lord’s Prayer, Newly Translated (1827), a 10-page pamphlet which gives a new translation of the Lord’s Prayer from the original version in Matthew 6:9-13 and accompanying critical and explanatory notes. Unlike with most of the Blake marginalia pages, which have relatively legible writing —

— deciphering this one was a challenge, and not quite achieved (though I’m hardly alone in failing to do this). The difficulty was largely owing to two features which are not typical of the Blake marginalia in other pages of the Thornton, or in the Watson and Lavater books we’re also working on: it seems to be written in something like smudgy grey pencil, and, at first sight, it seems to consist of one large nebulous mass extending up the right side from the bottom margin. Blake did certainly write his marginal notes all over the margins of his books and sometimes at odd angles to the text on the page:

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BAND, XML

What I Learned from Researching Choice Tags

One of BAND’s long term projects is what we’re calling the <choice> Tag Project. The ultimate idea behind this project is to standardize our use of <choice> tags in textual transcriptions. Since there have been several blog posts written on this topic in the past, I thought a good way to begin would be to read those three posts and then to look through recently transcribed BADs in order to get a thorough exposure to all the different ways in which people are using <choice> tags.

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BAND

Four Zoas: Glimpsing the Summit

I suppose the mountain-climbing analogy makes sense — climbing mountains is hard. For anyone with even a fleeting familiarity with this particular Blake manuscript, the difficulty of the Four Zoas is readily apparent. Reading it is hard. Editing it is, perhaps, futile. But we try. And even in our failures do we learn.

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BAND

BAND: A Healthy Difference in Academic Work

This week was my first week back in The William Blake Archive offices in over a month having taken a hiatus from work in order to study and take my PhD qualifying exams. This was the longest break I have had away from the archive since starting graduate school, and the first day back in the office helped me appreciate the healthy difference between my archive work and my research work.

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BAND

Where’s the Marginalia?

My colleagues have been updating this blog fairly regularly with details of our progress with the marginalia — there’s nothing really much to add there. But with (hopefully) most of the encoding work behind us, there’s still quite a few hurdles ahead, e.g. display. With the Archive being such a collaborative, multi-university effort, we don’t have that much control over the final display of objects, or actually, much knowledge of how this is going to come about.

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BAND, XML

William Blake’s letters: Date dilemma and Keynes’s commas

Bentley reads William Blake’s letter to Thomas Butts dated September, 23, 1800 as “22 September 1800” and makes a footnote explaining the same (1541). Similarly, another letter written to Butts dated January 10, 1802 is a matter of dispute and disagreement among scholars and editors. While the object (image— lt10jan1802.1.2.LT.300.jpg) itself says “January 10. 1802”, Erdman suggests it is 1803 and not 1802, and Keynes mentions both. When we were discussing this in our BAND meeting, Sarah recommended me a copy of “Blake/ An Illustrated Quarterly 51 Volume 13 Number 3 Winter 79-80”; I did find a brief note about this discrepancy in this issue (page 148). Then the concern was how and where should we address this in the XML file.

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BAND, XML

Trouble in paradise: our divergent uses of the new marginalia schema

In the excitingly titled “So then what happened?” Rob outlined some of the major changes that we’ve introduced to the marginalia schema, such as using specific <layer>s to differentiate between typographic text and Blake’s writing, dispensing with line numbers for the typographic text, and dividing the annotations into discrete zones with fluid spatial coordinates. Armed with these new and fascinating solutions, we decided to transcribe the marginalia BADs independently and to hold bimonthly update sessions to discuss our progress or talk about any specific problems that came up.

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BAND

Slack Update

In the fall, BAND (our group in Rochester) decided to try out the Slack app.

Growing group numbers and starting more complicated and diverse projects led us to try out a communication platform that was built to handle such dynamic work environments. It was/is an experiment, and I promised to check back after a semester to reflect on how the experiment was going. Here’s my report:

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