Tracking Down Letters

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By hardeepssidhu

Screen Grab of the Letters Master List in-progress



I’ve written before about my ongoing project of compiling a “master list” of the present locations for all of Blake’s correspondence. To collect all of this data, I’ve scoured a tall stack of fat books and a lot of online catalogues. The baseline for this list is the work info that we’ve already verified on the Blake Archive: both for letters that we’ve published and for those that are on deck for publication. Locating the rest of the letters has taken (and is still taking) some hunting around.

Screen Grab of the Letters Master List in-progress

Sometimes, this is a quick process: past print editions of Blake’s letters or past catalogues pin a letter’s location down to a specific library. Ideally, the online catalogue for the library in question is complete and easy to navigate, and I simply confirm that the letter is still there. Other times, it’s not so simple.

This week, the editors at the Blake Archive had a routine email back-and-forth about locating a specific Blake document: the 11 December 1805 letter from Blake to William Hayley. According to the last print catalogue of Blake’s works, the letter should live in a …read more