You say you want a revolution

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By lvandenb


I have been most recently working with Hardeep on Blake’s epic poem, “The French Revolution.” If you remember from an earlier blog post (for all of our regular blog readers!), this is a typographic work that never got past proof form. As a typographic work, the transcription is far more straight forward than a manuscript would be, or so we thought. As I checked our transcription against David Erdman’s The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake (one of the standard sources used by the archive), I realized that typographic works can come with their own set of issues.

Erdman‘s transcription takes the liberty of restructuring the poem by moving a large section of the poem from its actual page to earlier in the work. He notes (page 816) that this reading is based on an argument about a copying error made by William F.Holloran in a January 1968 Bulletin of the New York Public Library and considered “plausible” by G.E. Bentley on page 807n of William Blake’s Writings II. This is an interpretative reading of the text that does seem to borrow Bentley’s term “plausible,” but also seems strange to make about a …read more