Madness has always been the most fashionable of afflictions. That is to say, unlike cancer, or cholera, or even the plague, it has been the most malleable, the most subject to interpretation by the society in which it takes place, the most available to being fashioned – into, perhaps, a curse, or a gift, from the gods; a comment and stigma on the society, or the individual, or the family; or perhaps a genetic or a chemical failure taking on mental dimensions. The utterances of the mad, too, have variously been taken as divine revelations or prophecies, as shrewd or satiric insights (‘Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t’ as Polonius puts it in Hamlet)1, or as gobbledegook and ignored accordingly. The eighteenth century in Britain saw an increasingly rapid professionalization of medicine – a dragging of the whole business of dealing with the sick into a scientific age and a gradual stripping it of its accumulation of superstitions, bits and pieces of magic and ritual, a freeing from the remnants of beliefs inherited from classical and medieval times. Not that this was a process accomplished overnight, but with medical training …read more
The funny thing about digital projects is that in addition to their online presence, they also exist in the real world. We’ve spent a lot of time over the past year increasing our web-based activity (this blog, twitter, participating in Day of DH and so on) but as we approach the start of the new academic year, I find myself confronting problems that are real, tangible, material. For example, how on earth can I find a time when twelve busy people are all available to meet? And even if that’s possible, where are we going to meet? Is the summer construction around the office going to be finished in time for the new semester? And why is the carpet in our office permanently wrinkled (a question I lose sleep over because I’m worried that someone’s going to trip over and do themselves a horrible injury)?
The point of this post is not to complain about my problems, but to talk about the real-life work that goes into creating and maintaining the Blake Archive. The photo that accompanied Megan’s post last week reminded me of the amount of stuff that is necessary for effective proofing, and the same is …read more
The first phase of the Creative Communities research network is now completed. Over an eighteen-month period, we held three very successful two-day workshops (and a research seminar) with an emphasis on interaction and exploration. For the benefit of wider academic and arts communities, podcasts from all three events are now available on the website. This site will remain live and will be updated with news on publications and other projects deriving from the network. Thank you to all the speakers and delegates for your enthusiastic participation.
The first phase of the Creative Communities research network is now completed. Over an eighteen-month period, we held three very successful two-day workshops with an emphasis on interaction and exploration. For the benefit of wider academic and arts communities, podcasts from all three events are now available on the website. This site will remain live and will be updated with news on publications and other projects deriving from the network. Thank you to all the speakers and delegates for your enthusiastic participation.
By Anthony Mandal by Jonathan Dent It was a question that had eighteenth-century, gothic and Romantic scholars and enthusiasts scratching their heads: how exactly should one celebrate the 250th birthday of Ann Radcliffe, one of the best-selling and most influential writers of the Romantic period? As this conference report reveals, the University of Sheffield had the answer. The […] …read more
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. The original transcription of this work was created by Alia Wegner at the University of North Caroline at Chapel Hill. Here at the University of Rochester, I am now proofreading her transcription as well as checking our reading against several standard sources.
The process sort of looks like this:
Note the necessary caffeine and hydration containers. I think everyone at the Archive has their own “process” when proofing. As you can tell, I like to have everything open, analog and digital, as I proof. I like to cross-reference every reference, especially when I find information that differs slightly from one source to the next. I also like to make changes to our digital files one thing at a time, then save and check for errors. If I make all my changes at once I am more likely to really screw up the entire document. I am also super grateful for …read more
We begin with a long discussion of the pros and cons of issuing e-book editions of works in the Archive—focusing perhaps on developing Blake’s most popular and widely studied works in responsive portable formats. Among many other issues discussed are the thorny problems of copyright.
Bob Essick leads a discussion of “search terms” (the extensive list of keywords that are basic components of our image-search capability). As new works are added to the Archive, the list of terms grows. The question is always how to keep the list up to date, clean, and consistent.
We discuss the possible uses of image sources such as ArtStor but couldn’t see any in the short term. Too many problems stand in the way.
Archive bibliographer Mark Crosby calls our attention to the Wikipedia entry on the Archive that was initiated earlier this year by students at Kansas State. Of course we don’t and can’t control the entry, but we want to monitor it …read more
Blake Camp 21, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Highlights Part 1
I began with a brief history of Blake Camp—a bit of how-we-live-and-what-we-live-for to explain why it’s such a durable institution, marking the end of one Blake Archive year and the start of the next, BBC to ABC.
This year we met at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in the lounge of the English department—on Thursday and Friday, 12-13 June. As always, attendees varied from session to session depending on the subject. They included editors Morris Eaves, Bob Essick, and Joe Viscomi; bibliographer Mark Crosby; project manager Joe Fletcher; our new technical editor Mike Fox; special projects consultant Ashley Reed; and project assistant Adam McCune. Laura Whitebell, the project coordinator at the University of Rochester, attended via Google video chat.
DAY 1, Thursday 12 June
Year in Review
The Project Manager’s Report: Joe Fletcher revealed that the congruence between projected and actual publications for 2013-14 had been 50%. That is, we published the number of works we projected, but only half of them were the works we had listed in our projections. Happens every time to a greater or lesser degree; it will almost …read more
Ewan Jones is presently Thole Research Fellow at Trinity Hall, Cambridge; previously, he completed his PhD at King’s College, Cambridge. He is interested in the uses and implications of verse forms; in aesthetics; in conceptual histories; and in the works of a wide variety of poets with careers spanning from the mid-eighteenth to the late nineteenth centuries. His doctoral research focused particularly on Samuel Taylor Coleridge and this work forms the basis for his first monograph, Coleridge and the Philosophy of Poetic Form, which has just been published by Cambridge University Press and which we discuss below.
1) How did you come to decide that you wanted to write a book on the relationship between verse form and philosophical thought in Coleridge’s poetry?
I’m well aware that Coleridge might seem the most obvious figure for any such inquiry. After all, here’s a romantic poet who, even in the later period of life when his verse output allegedly diminishes, still formulates many of his philosophical convictions (from the symbol to the primary and secondary imaginations) in roughly ‘poetical’ terms. But as I …read more
“Blake Boyz” and “Blake Camp” are sticky labels that John Unsworth invented in the early years of the Archive. This June Blake Camp celebrated its 21st birthday—or maybe its 19th or 20th, depending on how you count, because the label came a bit later than the annual gathering of the principal participants.
To understand what Blake Camp—the annual pivot point for our project—is and how it got that way, a little history is helpful.
Blake Camp participants of yesteryear. Back row from the left: Kari Kraus, Morris Eaves, Andrea Laue, Joseph Viscomi. Front row from the left: Matt Kirschenbaum, Robert Essick. Photo by John Unsworth
In the December 1997 issue of the online Journal of Electronic Publishing appeared “Behind the Scenes at the William Blake Archive: Collaboration Takes More Than E-mail,” [DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3998/3336451.0003.202] a slightly expanded version of a paper I had presented in September at Unsworth’s session of DRH97, a conference on digital resources in the humanities at St. Anne’s College, Oxford. I began by explaining that my presentation
concerns the William Blake Archive, a Web-based project supported by the Getty Grant Program and developed under the auspices of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia. …read more