Choice Tags and Attributes in Blake’s “Chaucer”

By Eric Loy

Screenshot of an excerpt from Blake's Chaucer: The Canterbury Pilgrims.

A few months ago, Hardeep wrote a blog post about the importance of the XML element in our manuscript encoding tag set. The main benefit is for the Blake Archive’s search function to allow users to search for regularized spellings of words that might be abbreviated or non-standardized in Blake’s manuscripts. For example, a user searching for “Tiger” would never be directed to “Tyger” without a choice tag attached to Blake’s non-standard spelling.

Last month, I began the transcription and encoding of a typographic work titled Blake’s Chaucer: The Canterbury Pilgrims. The work is a one-page printed advertisement for a [proposed] Blake engraving of Chaucerian characters, “in a correct and finished Line manner of Engraving, similar to those original Copper Plates of ALBERT DURER, LUCAS, HISBEN, ALDEGRAVE.” Of course, the Blake advertisement here is appealing to the fame of some historically relevant engravers, but the manuscript itself only refers to them in abbreviated/non-standard/anglicized forms.

Respectively, “ALBERT DURER, LUCAS, HISBEN, ALDEGRAVE” in fact refers to:

  • Albrecht Dürer
  • Lucas van Leyden (also sometimes referred to as ”Lucas Hugensz” or “Lucas Jacobsz”)
  • Hans Sebald Beham
  • Heinrich Aldegrever (or sometimes ”Aldegraf”)

So obviously, in order to make our encoding of …read more