To the Letters

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By Shannon Jaime

Since re-grouping in January, the members of BAND have been working earnestly on a variety of new and ongoing projects, including Blake’s Descriptive Catalogue, Receipts, The French Revolution, Chaucer, Prospectus, The Four Zoas, Genesis, Tiriel, and additional groups of Blake’s letters. In an effort to do more shameless plugging for our imminent letters publication, I’d like to share why I decided to continue with the letters project.

On a more practical note, I wanted more experience in building XML files from the screen-up and in gathering provenance info for problematic or untraced letters. Yet there’s another reason I couldn’t stay away from the correspondence of Will Blake. As a Romanticist who has read and studied Blake’s poetry, I find that it is sometimes easy to forget that beyond Blake’s artistry, beyond his philosophical and mystical Ideas, there existed an actual human being. After working on one of Blake’s letters last semester, I realized that we often think of Blake the Poet, or Blake the Engraver, but not Blake the man—someone who lived, breathed, socialized, gossiped, fell ill, worried about money and work, conducted business with a host of acquaintances, expressed opinions, and often let his imagination wander into …read more