The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of an electronic edition of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell copy A, from the Houghton Library, Harvard University. It joins copy B from the Bodleian Library, copies C and F from the Morgan Library and Museum, copy D from the Library of Congress, copies E, H, and I from the Fitzwilliam Museum, and copy G from the Houghton Library. The Archive has now published all nine complete extant copies of this illuminated book, as well as copies K (Fitzwilliam Museum, plates 21-24 only), L (Essick Collection, plates 25-27 only), and M (Victoria University Library, plates 25-27 only). These may have been printed as separate pamphlets. The complete copies from the first printing in 1790 are A-C, H. Copies E and F were color printed in 1794; large-paper copy D was produced in 1795. Only two later copies are known: G (c. 1818) and I (1827). Copy G has a variant arrangement of the plates: 1-11, 15, 14, 12-13, 16-27.
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell copy A, title page
This is the first time that all copies of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell have been represented in …read more
When we think of William Wordsworth the landscape immediately conjured is that of the English Lake District. His connections to the area and his influence on the local culture are ever present, as the flocks of visitors to Dove Cottage and Ambleside will attest. What is much less celebrated is Wordsworth’s connection to the Irish landscape. The ‘Re-Imagining Ireland with Wordsworth’ project seeks to uncover and celebrate Wordsworth’s Irish connections.
The most enduring of Wordsworth’s Irish links is certainly his friendship with Sir William Rowan Hamilton. Born in Dublin in 1805 and educated there at Trinity College, Hamilton became Astronomer Royal in 1826 and from then resided at Dunsink Observatory at Castleknock. He first visited Wordsworth at Rydal Mount with fellow Irishman Caesar Otway in 1827, when he and Wordsworth became firm friends. This friendship would last until Wordsworth’s death, and in 1846 Hamilton proposed Wordsworth as an honorary member of the Royal Irish Academy, an honour Wordsworth greatly appreciated, chiming as it did with his interest in what he calls the “sister country” and how he has “in everything calculated to promote its welfare.” It was also in large part due to his friendship with Hamilton …read more
The Stephen Copley Research Award allowed me to travel to London to visit the British Library. My research addresses the work of the antiquary Joseph Ritson, and I hoped to develop a better understanding of the research that Ritson undertook in the British Museum, particularly in the early years between his move to London in 1775 and his first major publications in 1782. This period is sparsely covered in Bertrand Bronson’s excellent biography, as Bronson acknowledges. There are very few surviving letters from this period, and little evidence of Ritson’s activities. And yet, from his published work, it is clear that he carried out an astonishing project of research into early English literature during this period. During my trip, I was able to consult material held in the British Library which provided invaluable evidence of Ritson’s research.
The Register of Manuscripts Sent to the Reading Room of the British Museum goes a long way towards filling the gaps in Ritson’s …read more
Since I’ve just joined Team Marginalia, Laura said it might be useful for me to take a look at a few books and articles that discuss marginalia in general and Blake’s in particular. I’ve been browsing through them in the last couple of days and I thought others might find a few of their remarks about marginalia to be of interest. For instance, while Mark O’Connell’s article in the New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-marginal-obsession-with-marginalia) considers the reader’s collaborative engagement with other readers a fundamental affordance of marginalia, he also emphasizes the intimate nature of marginalia as writing – the private, often perhaps emotional conversation between book and reader that it might be indecent to peep into. Jason Snart on the other hand views Blake’s marginalia as disruptive. The “mark” poses a challenge to the monolithic authority of the printed text, exposing its weakness and thereby opening it up for argument, discussion, appropriation and rejection (Jason Snart, The Torn Book 124). He focuses more on the competitive nature of marginalia rather than the qualities of affection and intimacy. Here are examples of cases where Blake agrees vehemently with the author and where he equally vehemently disagrees :
<img src="https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?ui=2&ik=c71efb49a1&view=fimg&th=156b8a206fcd9240&attid=0.1&disp=emb&attbid=ANGjdJ-noS1gmadm6B09v6oVqkagnXOz4sOk7MvhsSoessBgCLpJDPD53NDcaLS_BscgPhhdAGwg6AEPGhUUXc_wWuwVxnxadM2J2xYqjh5q-ju4pn-eXAIkkjVvuV0&sz=w1000-h814&ats=1471976444640&rm=156b8a206fcd9240&zw&atsh=1" …read more
Attributed to Francis Danby, 1793–1861, British, Sunset at Sea after a Storm, ca. 1824, Oil on pressed card, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Romantic Climates is a blog published by the AHRC-funded project British Romantic Writing and Environmental Catastrophe, based at the University of Leeds.
Scholars from around the world will be contributing blog posts about their work on Romantic ecology. We hope that the blog will showcase cutting-edge research into how Romantic-period writers, artists, and thinkers understood the environment.
To find out more about the British Romantic Writing and Environmental Catastrophe project, read our About page.
Carol Bolton is Programme Director for English at Loughborough University. She has published widely on Romantic-period topics and has particular interests in writings that engage with issues of exploration and empire and in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century politics. She has played an important role in rehabilitating and exploring the work of Robert Southey, the subject of her first monograph and the focus of several substantial editorial projects in which she has played major parts. The latest of these, an edition of Robert Southey’s Letters from England by Don Manuel Alvarez Espriella, which we discuss below, was recently released by Routledge as part of the Pickering Masters series.
1) How did you come to realise that you wanted to produce an edition of Letters from England?
I have worked on several collaborative projects to publish editions of Southey’s poetry (Poetical Works 1793-1810, 2004; Later Poetical Works 1811-1838, 2012) and letters (The Collected Letters, Parts 1-4, 2009-2013) as well as writing articles, essays and a book (Writing the Empire: Robert Southey and Romantic Colonialism, 2007) on his representations of travel, exploration and colonialism. Letters from England presents a view of his own country through the …read more
This summer I attended DHSI at U Victoria (again). I had the great fortune to take James O’Sullivan’s course on Computation and Literary Criticism. (I also had the great fortune to eat at Red Fish Blue Fish, like, four times in five days.)
As one could guess, we learned a lot about distant reading and macroanlytic approaches to literary study, focusing on the technological pragmatics. So: we messed around in RStudio, creating stylometric cluster dendrograms; we dumped huge corpuses into Voyant Tools; we experimented with an open source Topic Modeling app (and talked about how mathematically insane topic modeling is).
The Blake Archive, of course, contains a trove of text that’s easily mineable from the backend. (Our tech editor Mike Fox emailed me plain text files of all Archive transcriptions for my experimenting.) Here are a couple of results from those experiments:
On the left, one of those stylometric cluster dendrograms. On the left, the same data dumped into a network visualization.
What exactly are these visualizing? Well, each is essentially a comparative statistical analysis of Blake’s illuminated books, using the 100 most frequent words in the corpus. (Most frequent words is an alarmingly reliable …read more
In July 2016 I organised two events to celebrate 200 years since the composition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Here is my report on those events, originally written for the BARS blog. The event will be reprised at Chawton House Library in November. I’m so honoured to have had the support and funding to present these events on a subject that means so much to me.
A report on the bicentenary events to celebrate 200 years since the composition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, July 2016
In May 1816, the Shelleys moved to the beautiful setting of Lake Geneva. They were accompanied by Mary’s step-sister, Claire Clairmont, who in London had begun an affair with Lord Byron. Percy Shelley had originally thought of leaving England for Italy, but Claire’s involvement with Byron led them to Switzerland instead. On 13 May 1816 the Shelleys and Claire arrived in Geneva, followed on 25 May by Byron and his companion Dr. John Polidori. By June, both parties had taken residences close to each other on the shores of the lake; Byron stayed at the Villa Diodati. Incessant rain often prevented them from going out on the water …read more