Johnson, "Contingencies, Exigencies, and Editorial Praxis: The Case of the 2008 Norton Blake"

Editing and Reading Blake

Contingencies, Exigencies, and Editorial Praxis: The Case of the 2008 Norton Blake

Mary Lynn Johnson

  1. As a material object in the sublunary world, the second edition of Johnson and Grant's Blake's Poetry and Designs (2008) in the Norton Critical Editions series is the product of trade-offs. The only way that my co-editor John E. Grant (husband Jack) and I could bring the 1979 Norton Critical Edition of Blake into the twenty-first century—not only updating scholarly references but also coordinating with Internet resources and expanding the selection of Blake's illuminated work to include the full verbal portion of Jerusalem in a finite number of bound sheets of printed paper—was to redesign the book from scratch, not just according to our own lights, of course, but in conformity with editorial and fiscal policies of the current Norton series. Because ours is the only Norton Critical Edition in which visual images are a non-negotiable essential—as reflected in the book's title—even a permissions budget expanded by 40 percent (from $2,500 to $3,500) was exhausted before we had finished acquiring the images and well before we had finalized the revised selection of critical essays. That one pot of money, split 50-50 between publisher and editors (as in the first edition), had to supply not only publication fees for base texts, essays, and designs but also all library, museum and/or commercial imaging services and all art-production costs (true also of the first edition). Our solution (as with the first edition) was simply to pay for what we could up front, out of pocket, until we were in the ballpark of $3,500, and to defer receiving royalties indefinitely to cover the rest—and we have absolutely no regrets about that self-subvention. The current Norton Blake now includes the full textual portion of Blake's entire body of work in illuminated printing, with the sole exception of the emblem captions in The Gates of Paradise, as well as a generous selection of his unpublished poetry and prose. And despite the cut-back from 32 to 16 color plates, the new edition still offers 17 images in color (counting the cover) and 86 in black and white (up from 80 in 1979), thus continuing to provide a sufficiently solid introduction to the visual side of Blake's achievement to motivate current and future students to explore resources that, since 1979, have become available online and in libraries, most notably in the William Blake Archive and in the Blake Trust / Tate / Princeton scholarly facsimile editions of the illuminated books. Even the first edition's paperback cover portrait of Blake from the collection of Robert N. Essick, now recognized as a self-portrait, remains visible as a thumbnail on the back cover of the 2008 Norton Blake.

  2. But many of the trade-offs, or in Morris Eaves's telling phrase, "editorial settlements," were exasperatingly difficult to negotiate.[1] The most forthright compromise to be made by any editor of Blake is that necessitated by the irremediable incommensurability of the author/artist's content and the editor/publisher's container. All words extracted from Blake's unique handmade, home-printed illuminated books must be heavily processed if they are to appear—in any form—between the covers of an ordinary mass-produced (and salable) book or on a computer screen. The mismatch between Blake's etched text (or textual etching) and conventional typography affects every aspect of the appearance of the published page: everything from layout to font to lineation to hyphenation. As there are no typographical equivalents for this artist's "hybrid question marks over comma bases, oblong periods, [. . .]. elongated colons [. . .] short exclamation points [. . .] lopped-off question marks" and "birds, butterflies, fish, squiggles and plant tendrils that serve as animated textual markers" (Norton Blake 2008, 601), even the ideally non-interventionist texts of Erdman, Bentley, the Blake Trust facsimiles under the general editorship of Bindman, and the transcripts accompanying images in the Eaves-Essick-Viscomi Blake Archive must make do with rough approximations. Beyond that, editors of texts designed to appeal to first-time readers of Blake must decide how much further to go with alterations, depending on the degree of normalization or modernization preferred by the editor or imposed by series guidelines.[2]

  3. The 2008 Norton Blake was also shaped by subsurface trade-offs required (as in all editions of all authors) by the "practical and material demands" addressed in Jerome J. McGann's theory of the "editorial horizon" of "production and reproduction" within which all texts reside (Textual Condition 21).[3] In the making of any edition, unpredictable behind-the-scenes compromises may be occasioned whenever editorial aspirations collide with brute facts of page allowances, physical dimensions, paper stock, rights and permissions budgets, house style, publishers' policies, design and series constraints, technological limits, subcontractors' specifications and schedules—whatever may constitute the McGannian "material and institutional conditions" and "social considerations" that happen to curve the peculiar horizon of one's own edition toward the earth (21). This reality is confirmed in Rachel Malik's just-emerging theory of "horizons of the publishable," which examines publishing as "a set of historical processes and practices—composition, editing, design and illustration, production, marketing and promotion, and distribution—and a set of relations with various other institutions—commercial, legal, educational, political, cultural, and, perhaps, above all, other media" (709); for Malik, the book is "a site where various publishing processes—writing, editing, design, marketing, production—intersect and conflict" (709). Although the pragmatic compromises entailed by horizons of the editable and the publishable—almost never, to my knowledge, aired in a forum such as this one[4]—always "become manifest and even imperative" (McGann, Textual Condition 21) to the editor or editors, they usually remain invisible to readers and reviewers. Even after the book is "in press," it sometimes happens that seat-of-the-pants editorial decisions profoundly affecting the character of the published edition must be taken in the anxious state brought on by intense spatial, temporal, technological, and budgetary pressures. In that furthest back room of the sausage-making factory, as editorial neuroses proliferate, it sometimes cannot be helped that scholarly, pedagogical, and book-production values fall slightly out of alignment. Because our own trade-offs in response to the fortuities and mundanities of book production came to dominate the end-stages of the preparation of the Norton Blake of 2008 in unforeseen ways that strongly affected its final content, up to and including the endpapers (as will be seen), this anecdotal case history dwells disproportionately on the influence of contingencies and exigencies upon our editorial praxis.

  4. In the summer of 2004, while grappling with the immediate problem of working out the trade-offs necessary to represent Blake's illuminated books in conventional typeface, Jack and I signed up for Neil Fraistat's editing workshop at the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) conference in Boulder. "There seems to be no real model for what we are trying to do," I proclaimed by e-mail, a little pompously:

    create a reader-friendly (but not normalized) text from multiple versions of an etched and often hand-retouched text, in a way that can be defended along the lines of standard (but adapted) editorial principles. To state those principles and our necessary deviations from them gets into something much longer than any student would ever need or want to know.

    After our draft statement of principles was critiqued by members of the workshop (as acknowledged in the new Preface [xii]), we boiled it down to a four-and-a-quarter-page account of "Textual Technicalities" tucked discreetly in the back of the book so as to put the information on record without scaring off actual first-time readers of Blake who might begin by skimming the front matter. In that appendix, we admitted that our case-by-case editorial maneuvers were "wickedly complicated to explain" (599); what we did not say is that they are difficult to justify at all in the traditional language of textual scholarship. The truth is that almost every time we edited a page, we ran into yet another anomaly that called for a bit more tweaking of the obligatory editorial statement. With each re-write, practice drove principle, not the other way around. According to one of my self-pitying 2004 e-mails to Morris Eaves, "[T]he more we work on it [the declaration of principles] the worse it gets, swinging back and forth between intelligibility and accuracy." In confessing to Joseph Viscomi the impossibility of living up to the ideals of his "Editing" chapter in Blake and the Idea of the Book (180-81), I whined:

    We try our best to compromise in a principled way and not cheat on punctuation, but then the text turns out so weird that we might as well just leave it alone—but we're supposed to be creating a reading text that will fit into the Norton [Critical Editions] series. Jack and I pass the same text back and forth for days without finalizing the punctuation.

    I do not recall having this problem in preparing the first edition. One reason may be that, before I resigned from Georgia State University in 1978 to join Jack in Iowa, the discipline enforced by the time required to prepare and mail a typescript with a carbon copy imposed sensible limits on our exchanges of preliminary drafts.

  5. The most verifiable of the comprehensive statements in "Textual Technicalities" is that we "adjusted standard editorial principles to suit our author and nudged special features of his work in the direction of our principles" (599). This bald-faced admission—which McGann, at the 2004 Fraistat workshop, assured us that an editor of a particular edition with a particular purpose is permitted to make "without shame"—would have horrified Irving Ribner, my first mentor in textual studies.[5] Back in the long afterglow of the golden age of the New Criticism at Tulane University, as the 1950s slipped into the 1960s and the whole point of graduate studies in English was still to get better at close, appreciative readings of well-wrought works of literary art, the requirements of Ribner's mandatory year-long Shakespeare seminar came as a shock. Before becoming engaged with the plays themselves, we first-year graduate students were to spend a whole semester learning how the text was established—studying Elizabethan secretary and court handwriting (in the pre-Xerox form of huge blueprints), Shakespeare's six signatures, "Hand D," good and bad quartos, compositors A and B, W. W. Greg and Fredson Bowers ("Frets and Bowers," in my first-day's notes). Our final assignment that term was the editing and annotation of a famous passage, a different one for each student, containing at least one notorious textual crux. Pure misery—but it worked. By mid-year, having internalized the best textual practices of that era, my classmates and I had developed a hearty scorn for unprincipled interventions of any sort. Without knowing quite when it happened, we had ceased to think of editing as the mechanical toil of unimaginative drudges incapable of achieving the heights conquered by masters of the more demanding craft of literary criticism. Conscientious editors had become heroes in our eyes, and we never again performed a heedless New Critical reading in a blissful state of textual naïveté.[6]

  6. In the original proposal and sample headnotes for the first edition of Blake's Poetry and Designs, submitted and accepted in 1974, Jack and I said nothing about how we would go about developing a modernized reading text, as required by the Norton Critical Editions series, from the fruits of Keynes's and Erdman's labors and our own study of originals and facsimiles. Instead, we concentrated all our persuasive powers on urging the inclusion of enough images to give students an inkling of the interplay between verbal and visual elements in Blake's self-published work—a then-radical departure from Norton Critical Editions' textual norms for which, luckily, we won the support not only of our supervising editor but also of M. H. Abrams, the general editor and guiding spirit of the series. Once Blake's Poetry and Designs was in press, it turned out that the pre-computer difficulty of coordinating verbal and visual elements on monochrome pages slowed down publication by some years, and the mounting costs of the unusually large number of color plates, a whole signature of 32 pages, almost derailed the project entirely (until we altered the standard royalty arrangement). But on the textual side, everything moved forward smoothly. As indicated in our fairly straightforward prefatory "Note on the Texts" in the 1979 edition (xliii-xlv), we took a position close to that shared by David Fuller and W. H. Stevenson in their current editions: "For scholars, nothing short of a study of the punctuation of each separate copy in scattered museums and private collections can settle a fine point of textual analysis or criticism. For most people, a readable text faithful to one of Blake's hand-made copies is not only sufficient but more desirable than a scholar's text" (xliii-xliv). Our concept of "readable," though, was considerably looser than that underlying the Fuller and the earlier Stevenson editions: "We have retained all of Blake's spellings, except for obvious slips, most of his capitalizations, and most of his odd punctuation" as part of "a compromise that preserves most of Blake's eccentricities while removing serious obstacles to understanding" (xliv).

  7. By 2003, however, in the early planning of the second edition, we had come to feel that the 1979 edition was overpunctuated, a judgment overwhelmingly confirmed by Nelson Hilton and other online list members of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR) who answered our open call for suggested revisions—as epitomized in a 2004 e-mail from Jennifer Michael: "My own feeling about punctuation is that less is more, and once you start editing, it's hard to justify making some emendations and not others [. . .]. [A] wonderful openness is lost when you change 'Little Lamb who made thee' to 'Little Lamb, who made thee?'." Everyone urged as little repunctuation as possible; no one, absolutely no one, argued for more—partly, I suspect, because today's readers, at least in the U.S.A., are thoroughly accustomed to decoding unpunctuated streams of electronically transmitted verbiage, as tactfully stated in our Introduction to the second edition: "Since the advent of e-mail and text messaging, Blake's irregularities have perhaps become less of a barrier than they once appeared [. . .]" (xiv). The tighter punctuation of the first edition is also to some degree attributable to a change in textual basis: in 1974 we started on the base of the Keynes text (for which permission had been granted at a remarkably affordable price), collated with Erdman and with our own images of and notes on the original source texts. In the second edition, for the illuminated writings, we started with the Blake Archive's transcription of a single copy of each work as the base text, "checked against the Archive's corresponding images and against printed facsimiles of the same and other versions of the same book" as well as against our own notes on originals, the Erdman and Bentley editions, and "the transcriptions, variants, and textual notes of the scholarly facsimile editions in the Blake Trust series" under Bindman's general editorship (599). Not surprisingly, it was much harder to add or change punctuation (second edition) than to adjust or remove it (first edition), as Keynes had already done so much of the work of modernization needed for the 1979 edition. For the second edition, the electronic foundation in Blake Archive transcriptions of specific unique versions of illuminated works supported our decision (at least in theory) to alter punctuation of most of these works (leaving Songs virtually untouched) "just enough to smooth the way for readers" (601)—meaning that we usually limit ourselves to supplying quotation marks, apostrophes for nouns in the possessive case, and (more consistently in the earlier works) conventional substitutes for Blake's most egregiously non-syntactically employed periods, or dots.[7] An added benefit of basing the text on the Blake Archive was that the Archive editors facilitated our acquisition of the Archive's transcriptions in electronic form, making it possible for us to enter our alterations directly into a clean electronic copy,[8] so that this altered electronic text, after vetting by Norton's editorial department, could be sent directly into the computer of the Norton compositor, minimizing the need for keystrokes other than formatting commands. In return, as heavy users of the Blake Archive, we were occasionally able to catch minor errors in transcriptions and editorial notes, or scanning errors in the Archive's Erdman text, for prompt correction by the editors.[9]

  8. For editors of most poets, page and line numbering is probably the least of all worries; for editors of Blake, it is just one more raging headache. In the 2008 Norton edition of Blake, after much deliberation, we settled on an awkward hybrid of the plate and line system for the illuminated books adopted by Erdman (inherited from Keynes) and that of Bentley and the Blake Archive. Even though scholarly studies since 1965 have been, and probably will continue to be, keyed to plate numbers in the indispensable Erdman edition, which often assigns lowercase roman numerals to introductory elements and title pages and leaves some full-page designs unnumbered, the more logical and consistent all-arabic, all-plate numeration of Bentley and the Blake Archive is much easier to follow, and it is possible that its dissemination through the widely accessible and still growing Blake Archive will eventually ensure its dominance.[10] In the current Norton edition, boxed numbers in boldface in the right margin correspond to Bentley and Blake Archive plate or "object" numbers (except for the special case of Milton), with the Erdman numbers, if different, appearing in ordinary type after a forward slash (600). Line numbers are another matter: they adhere to "the Keynes-Erdman-Bentley and Blake Trust convention of beginning with the first line of poetry after the title" rather than to the Blake Archive's system of numbering "all lines, including titles, page and section numbers, carry-over lines, and catchwords" (600). It is something of a relief that the helter-skelter wraparound text of the single-plate illuminated work יה [Yah] & his two Sons Satan & Adam, written over, under, beside, and around engraved figures and on the base of the classical statue The Laocoon, and meant to be read in any order, or taken in all at once, cannot be assigned line numbers at all.[11]

  9. Numeration systems aside, I pause on this seemingly minor editorial dilemma because lineation and layout have become a serious point of contention among Blake scholars, and because in the harsh praxis of editing, the stubborn facts of a book's physical dimensions not only limit the range of possible layouts but may also have an unforeseen effect on content. One of the very first respondents to our NASSR-list request for recommended revisions was Susan Wolfson, who asked in early 2003 "how you and Norton would feel about following the lineation of [B]lake's plates rather than the Erdman model of letterpress editions," as recommended in the Santa Cruz Study Group's review of Erdman's second edition[12]—and as observed in Wolfson's own critical and editorial practice.[13] Independently, our colleague Judith Pascoe concurred: "I like the way Wolfson preserves the plate layout in her edition. It does seem to make a difference, most obviously for something like 'All Religions are One,' but also for, say, 'The Fly.'" We opted to finesse the issue by attempting to make a pedagogical virtue out of space-saving necessity: "To illustrate the effects of different degrees of editorial mediation discussed in 'Textual Technicalities' (599), we approximate Blake's own page layout, spelling, and punctuation in All Religions Are One, but present There is No Natural Religion in conventional prose lines" (4). Because invading the margins of the relatively narrow Norton page was not an option, we could not preserve Blake's columnar presentation of "The Fly"; instead, we relegated the information to a footnote that implicitly rejects (without engaging) Wolfson's argument for reading the poem horizontally as well as vertically: "The sequence of stanzas in Blake's two-column layout, with the fifth stanza centered below, is unambiguous in the stanza numbering of his draft (Notebook 101)" (37).[14] Inconsistently, however, in the final three stanzas of the prefatory poem "To the Christians" (Jerusalem 77 [312]) and in Blake's letter-poem to Butts of 2 October 1800 (475-76), where interpretive stakes are lower or nonexistent, we preserved the double columns mainly because on these pages they saved space without cluttering the Norton layout.

  10. The shift from manual to computerized page composition forced other kinds of trade-offs. The graphic hand-crafters of the first edition, who prepared camera-ready copy by laboriously cutting out selected portions of glossy prints with scissors for mounting in and around letterpress text on waxy paste-up sheets, managed to keep texts, related images, and footnotes on the same page at the occasional cost of leaving noticeable empty stretches (as on 23, 112, 118, 119, 121). The computer-driven composition of the second edition left no space wasted but sometimes edged footnotes a page away from their reference numbers (as with n. 7-8, 272-3), shifted Blake's "headpiece" or "tailpiece" designs to the opposite ends of Norton pages (as on 85, 92, 344), or separated designs from their plate numbers (as with the bottom design of Jerusalem 37/33, which correctly appears with the top design on 256, but after plate number 38/34). Quite understandably, we also lost the first edition's gracenote of a playfully hand-scalloped top border, following the lines of drapery, in the design for "The Cradle Song" (29); in proofs of the second edition, a digitally grayed-out area between pleats became successively lighter without ever being altogether eliminated, so the border was mercifully straitedged and squared off (20). In the end, the second edition's most successful interweaving of Blake's images with conventional typographic text is the "Argument" of Marriage 2 (68), for which designers had Bentley's edition (1.75) as a model.

  11. Blake's illuminated books have an unusually large width-to-height ratio, meaning that when a page image is reproduced at maximum width in a book of average dimensions there will always be extra space on the vertical axis. On proofs of the color plates of the first edition, our editor noted the gaping white space remaining under the source caption of each design, and invited us to add something more. As the book was then already in production, and the text was needed immediately, we quickly came up with quotations from the poems, not intending to indicate that Blake's design illustrated the quoted lines, but probably giving that impression to many students. In the current Norton series, the "jumbo" format has a trim size of 5 58 by 9 14 inches, a half-inch wider and almost a full inch taller than the earlier 5 18 x 8 38 dimensions, so that reproductions of Blake's designs leave still more space at the bottom than in the first edition. For the color plates, only after we had written longer captions to help balance the composition did we learn that the current printer's specifications called for wider margins than in the 1979 edition, so that in some cases the published image—though of higher color quality—is actually smaller than in the first edition.

  12. In the book as a whole, the space crunch to which I have repeatedly alluded was caused mainly by our determination to include the whole text of Jerusalem as the capstone of Blake's achievement, as I wrote the NASSR-list in 2003:

    I love the Four Zoas and agree that graduate students interested in our period should be encouraged to read it, but I don't consider it in any way the core document from which Jerusalem spins off. A reader/viewer can go chronologically through the works Blake published, from the Lambeth books to Milton (issued—printed and offered for sale by Blake—in four versions) to Jerusalem (issued in five and one-quarter versions), and more or less catch the drift, without ever having read (or even knowing of the existence of) The Four Zoas (extant solely in a single privately-held, never-issued, worked-over palimpsest manuscript interlayered with Vala). The textual history of both works is hugely complicated, with various overlaps in time, but as Morton [Paley] points out in his superb Princeton/Blake Trust edition, Blake did consider the fully colored 100-plate creation that we call Copy E "Finishd." He never said that about FZ, which by its very nature is unfinishable.

    Early on, we understood that the second edition was to be no longer than the first. (Other recent Norton Critical Editions, the Shelley second edition of 2002 and the Coleridge of 2004, are considerably longer but are not weighed down by art reproduction and permissions expenses.) But in February 2004 we woke up to the fact that the 48-page selection from atypical pages of Jerusalem published in the 1979 edition had thrown off our calculation of the additional pages needed for this unusually text-heavy work. As I wailed to our editor:

    In 10-point type, but without yet the insertion of line numbers, the text alone (from Blake Archive) takes up 97 pages. Carry-over lines will increase the length. There are also substantial prose prefaces to each of the four chapters (which we already have in the existing edition). Then there are the introductory short-line lyrics (which Blake—and the 97-page Blake Archive transcript—placed in two columns); these, published in one column in our existing edition, also take a lot of space. When prose lines are numbered—which we do not propose, but it will give you an idea of how much text there is to cope with—the work is 4,553 lines long.
               Footnotes, even the most economical ones for only the very most difficult lines, will require even more pages. W. H. Stevenson's [2nd] Longman edition devotes 210 pages to Jerusalem. That's entirely reasonable, given the extreme difficulty of the poem, but of course we aren't thinking of anything like that level of detail in our notes. [. . .] [W]ith strong self-discipline to control the impulse to annotate, we still need at least another 125 pages to put in the rest of the text plus notes.
              We know we can't have that many more pages. We are shortening our headnotes and looking for other cuts that won't detract from the usefulness of the edition.

    It was at this point that we proposed cutting our 32 color plates down to 16. As our annotations of Jerusalem grew, further space calculations became such an obsession for me (the typist in our family) that our editor took the extraordinary step of having sample portions of the electronic typescript set by the Norton compositor for me to use as a guide. Even with this help (working with lines 25 picas in width, each pica being .167 of an inch and .4233 of a centimenter), I overcompensated in trimming content, as we were to discover during production after additional compression at the copyediting and proofreading stages.[15] By then it was too late to renegotiate any of the cut-backs in selections. What I should certainly have done in the first place, as advised by our editor, was not to worry about how much would fit on a page and simply let the experts do their jobs. Perhaps it is some consolation that our economizing on length (only 20½ 32-page signatures!) may make it possible, as time goes on, to keep the book's price, now $22.50 (, on a par with others of its vintage in the same series.

  13. The most soul-trying trade-offs of all unexpectedly fell our way on April 14, 2006, a day after a tornado hit Iowa City and three months after we had mailed the final loose ends to our publisher. On that day we received the copyedited manuscript bristling with stick-on flags, most of which queried "interpretive or borderline-interpretive" annotations in our footnotes, in response to a general directive by our senior editor. To stay on the production schedule for the fall of '06, we were to return the manuscript on May 15. (Norton Critical Editions are published only in the fall of each year; and in spite of Jack's coming down with shingles just as we were set to hand-deliver the manuscript in November 2005, we were still on track.) Earlier in the spring, when we were expecting the manuscript a little sooner, we had made nonrefundable reservations to meet other Blake scholars and enthusiasts at the auction of Blake's rediscovered designs for Blair's Grave at Sotheby's New York—now right smack in the middle of the window for reviewing the copyedited manuscript. We got right to work, and within a half-hour I was beside myself, as I e-mailed the associate editor:

    Before we get deeply into responding to the flags, I have an important ground rule question [about the flag] attached to the following sentence in the Introduction, p. xiii, [which] has caused many footnotes to be queried:

    "We occasionally suggest our own interpretations of especially difficult or controversial points, with the intent to stimulate discussion, not to foreclose it."

    The flagged sentence repeats verbatim, with the addition of a qualifier, the first clause of a sentence on p. xxiv of the 1st ed.:

    "We have occasionally suggested our own interpretations of difficult or controversial points, but where possible we have simply presented the current critical consensus on each work."

    In both editions, this was intended to cover all annotations, whether headnotes or footnotes. Favorable reviews of 1/e approved this policy and praised our notes for providing needed information and guidance without crossing the line into restricting the reader's own efforts. If the NCE series has changed its policy since our 1/e came out, we didn't know about it.

    Blake is notoriously difficult, but some of his interpreters have put forward terribly far-fetched glosses on deeply puzzling passages, citing impossibly arcane sources. It would be nice to cite someone else's article for each passage of this sort, but sometimes there's nothing that serves the purpose. [. . .] It is discouraging to see what we regard as serviceable, useful notes carried over from 1/e, with updates, now flagged on suspicion of being too interpretive. [. . .]

    [. . . ] I assure you that we won't fight all these suggestions, but I don't want to waste time fighting any of them if there is no room for negotiation. What I find scariest, at the outset, is the unexpected clamp-down on footnotes that I think puzzled readers will see as explanatory, or cautiously suggestive, and I'm dismayed at trying to eradicate any smidgeon of interpretation in notes throughout the book.

    After a confirmation that Norton had indeed changed its policy since 1979 (hardly surprising, but so long ago that the editorial staff had not thought to mention it), the ordeal of self-surgery without anaesthetic began. My co-editor, the first to admit that he makes footnotes longer, not shorter, switched his duties to full-time househusband while I spent the days and nights filling the manuscript-covered dining room table with botched attempts at slashing and burning, trying to undo in a month notes that had taken two years to write. In that frenzied state, I tried to wheedle sympathy from Donald H. Reiman, co-editor of the original and revised Norton Critical Edition of Shelley's Poetry and Prose. Don sensibly replied on April 20:

    Every time I've had to revise any work I've thought was complete, the result has been better than the earlier version was. Perhaps we should think of Manzoni, who published I Promesi Sposi in the Lombard dialect, and then rewrote it in Tuscan so as to help unify and extend the value of Italian literature (as Alfieri had done before him). Blake studies are so volatile that a fact-based edition will have a longer shelf-life than an interpretive one [. . .].

    In the end, in the cover letter to the revised manuscript, we were fairly successful in arguing for the preservation of flagged notes that we justified as explanations of Blake's "image clusters, mythic characters and plots, unusual political and religious ideas":

    Notes on Donne, Spenser, and Milton [in other Norton Critical Editions] explain things like the Ptolemaic universe or wordplay on obsolete meanings or identifications of principal allegorical figures or the Puritans' issues with the Church of England. With all three of these poets, there's something "out there," culturally and historically, to point to. Blake is just as allusive, but the allusions are to something he was making up as he went along [. . . ] a self-constructed literary myth—with its own bewildering cast of characters, vocabulary, and cosmos—and a personal philosophy or set of questions about beliefs. It is this private construction to which his middle and later works refer, just as if he were referring to something documentable like Apollo or the nine circles of Dante's Hell or Arthurian romance. Mostly, we leave students to sink or swim in this murk. But for very basic recurring characters, themes, and such (as listed in the Key Terms) we provide explanatory footnotes. Nothing we say in them is controversial among Blake scholars. Nothing imposes an interpretation on students; it provides only enough to orient them to read further.

    Mercifully, the headnotes, with mini-essays covering both bibliographical and interpretive issues, escaped being flagged. The shortened, toughened-up, refootnoted manuscript finally went back to the editor in early June, two weeks behind schedule—and, to join Blake's Isaiah in discussing the fate of his unpreserved works, I can say that probably "none of equal value was lost. Ezekiel said the same of his" (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell 13, Norton 2008 p. 74).[16]

  14. Given our spatial and financial constraints, our decision to include maps of "Blake's Britain," "The Holy Land," and "Blake's London," revised from the first edition, may seem unwise. Why any maps at all—and why all three in color, no less? Aren't they taking up resources that could otherwise have been devoted to Blake's own work? The answer is no: the maps fall into a category of their own, neither quite in the book nor out of it, just below the page-count radar. Until a very late stage, they were to be in black and white, as in the first edition, so at no time did they compete for any of the 16 slots in the color insert. Nor did they ever figure into the permissions budget, because the original cartographer, Karen McHaney, and I had created and copyrighted them ourselves, and there were no fees to pay. Even the slight drain on the page count vanished when Norton agreed to relegate them to the inside front and back covers and adjacent pages. That arrangement eventually proved impracticable, but as endpapers they are still outside the total page-count, hence unlisted in the Table of Contents, yet actually more convenient for reference than when they were in the front matter of the first edition.

  15. Even in Blake's visionary universe, in which every atom of space potentially opens into eternity, maps of the physical world are important. Blake's blood- and soot-stained "chartered streets" are laid out in a particular area "near where the chartered Thames does flow." A good map can help students visualize the physical environment in which Blake lived and worked most of his life, from his birth on Broad Street until his death in Fountain Court—the London of cathedrals, charity schools, workhouses, hospitals, asylums, pleasure gardens, fields, palaces, and taverns that have made their way into his poetry. This is mappable terrain that the actor Niall McDevitt has recently celebrated by leading tourists on four-hour narrated jaunts through central London, as noted by the travel writer Nigel Richardson—the same terrain that James Bogan once traversed more broadly in a day-long effort, apparently using the first-edition map of "Blake's London," to retrace Los's spiral journey from the northern suburbs to London Stone in Jerusalem.

    Without such a map, students confronting the full-text Jerusalem in the new Norton Blake, with its super-abundance of place-names, would be even more baffled than they must be. We hope that the three maps will help all readers, especially those in North America, begin to get at least their physical bearings as they find their way into the poem, winding the golden string into a ball.

  16. If students want more details, as I hope they will, my cartographic sources are readily available on the Web. Richard Horwood's wonderful house-by-house map of London, 1792-99 is at, and the cover image ( even features Blake's Number 13, Hercules Buildings address, in the then-undeveloped section of Lambeth near Astley's home and circus. This part of the city has been well explored in recent work of Michael Phillips and is the setting for Tracy Chevalier's novel Burning Bright, discussed by Phillips and Chevalier at the "Blake at 250" conference in York in the summer of 2007. The other principal source is John Cary's 1818 Plan of London and Westminster [. . .] and parts Adjacent, placed on the Web by UCLA's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health in connection with John Snow, an anaestheologist and epidemiologist born in 1813:

    But it's still helpful, I think, for students to keep the Norton map at hand, because in the detailed street plans the places of importance to Blake are hard to spot, and they're impossible to visualize in relation to the city as whole. When a section is blown up to show a certain address, other major landmarks are out of sight; and when all of London is in view, the individual streets are too small to see.

  17. In the first edition of Blake Records, Bentley reproduces good-sized portions of Horwood's map, in high resolution, with arrows pointing to Blake's addresses, but in the second edition he prints much smaller, lower-resolution excerpts, using numbers to mark some of the buildings and simply listing other addresses, indicating in which direction they are off the map. W. H. Stevenson reprints the three simplified London maps of his earlier editions in his magnificent third edition of Blake: The Complete Poems in the Longman Annotated English Poets series. These are a modern cartographer's renderings of London c. 1810 in three views—(a) the city and its suburbs; (b) a closer view, with street names, covering approximately the same area as the Norton Blake map, with an inset blow-up of Golden Square and a note that "The site of Regent Street is approximately that of Great Swallow Street"; and (c) the same perspective, cropped toward the east, without street names and with numbers indicating basically the same landmarks shown in the Norton map.

  18. All these are helpful, but the Norton Blake map of London remains unique in presenting a single, uncluttered, trans-historical, topologically correct overview of Blake's city, with all major streets and landmarks labeled directly on the map. As I wrote in "Mapping Blake's London," this hybrid map was possible because my friend Karen McHaney, a professional cartographer, was willing to work with me collaboratively to plot Blake-related sites onto a street plan drawn from an overlay of Horwood's work of the 1790s on Cary's of 1810, benefiting from research of Paul Miner, Stanley Gardner, Bentley and others. Karen and I were in almost daily contact for several months and sometimes even worked side by side. Originally, for both "Blake's Britain" and "Blake's London," I had in mind the sort of map that distorts distances to make a point, such as Saul Steinberg's famous New Yorker cover, "View from Ninth Avenue," which came out in March 1976, about the time we were starting this project: I was also inspired by a literary tourist's map of London that showed magnified drawings of places like the Tabard Inn connected by much smaller renderings of major roads and tube lines. But Karen's insistence on true scale opened my eyes to the physical realities of Blake's stomping grounds, and I finally understood, for example, that Willan's Farm and the Jew's-Harp House of his boyhood were situated within the royal preserve that John Nash was to incorporate into Regent's Park, under the grand renovation program of 1812-20—not further north as I had imagined them. I was prepared for a similar learning experience as I worked on revisions, though this time without a cartographic collaborator. This time, I just sent Web images of traditional Ordnance-Survey sorts of maps with verbal instructions about details to add or subtract from the three maps.

  19. On February 12, 2007, during the first pass of proofreading, I asked the associate editor handling the book, "Do you know the status of the maps that needed changes, especially the 'Blake's Britain' map?"—which I singled out because it was the most heavily revised, taking advantage of the elongated new "jumbo" format by extending Scotland further north to add John o' Groats and other landmarks on the mainland coast and adding the northeastern coast of Ireland to show the beginning of the Giant's Causeway. Within weeks, that editor announced that he was moving to a different publishing house, and on April 26, his successor asked us simply to confirm the map placement on the inside front and back covers and the back endpaper. So far, so good, no surprises. But the next day, April 27, our senior editor wrote, "My sorrow at moving the maps inside (and losing the four-color option) is no more. How about running the maps in color as per below"- attaching the production manager's suggestion that we put them in endpapers, something that could be managed at a negligible cost when printed with the 16-page color insert. To which I replied: "I'm baffled! What color? The maps have always been in black and white. Has color been added to the labels? [. . .] If the maps themselves have been colorized, could they be e-mailed so that I can look at them before responding?"

  20. On May 3, 2007, I learned that the team was standing by waiting for me to decide what colors should go where. For the London map, the most complicated, I was to send a colored mock-up by May 10, to allow the cartographer a full month to prepare new renderings. I did the best I could with clumsy color markers and sent along the old Blake Quarterly article as background information for the cartographer (an employee of Mapping Specialists, Ltd., whose name I still don't know). To clarify details, I sent Web links to other maps, including an illusionistic 3-D tourist map of present-day London at I then had two lightning rounds of map proofreading—starting June 6, 2007, while we were swamped with text proofs, with a twelve-day turnaround, and then a review of the second-pass map proofs with less than a week turnaround in late June-early July—all part of a push that, at the time, we believed would result in published books by the beginning of the fall semester 2007. The version shown is from a PDF of the third pass, which we were not supposed to change except for typographical errors.

    But I did question the gabled structure for "Jews-Harp House" that I hadn't seen earlier, at the upper left of the detailed view below, and it was removed before publication.

    Unfortunately, the other flaw I spotted at that stage, the misspelling of "Horseferry Road," leading toward a nonexistent bridge to Lambeth Palace, remains in the published map.

  21. I asked for different colors for Blake's addresses, addresses of his friends and patrons, charity schools, and landmarks in his poetry, either splashes of color or colored texts, but the cartographer thought colored symbols would be better. On the first pass Blake's addresses were marked by little houses and his patrons by a man in silhouette. As many of the wives were also friends and patrons, I asked for a gender-neutral symbol, and the cartographer decided to use the houses for the patrons and to represent Blake's homes by an easel. There was no time to ask for something different.

    I added St. James's Church, where Blake was baptized, but my pencilled Xes and verbal descriptions weren't clear enough, so it is slightly misplaced. I decided not to add sites associated with Blake's parents and other relatives, reflecting recent discoveries of Miner, Gardner, and of course Phillips, Whitehead, Keri Davies, and Troy Patenaude, because I feared, in a map of this size, that additional addresses would soften the sharp focus we wanted to keep on Blake's own life and work. So the Fetter Lane church, where Blake's mother joined the Moravians, is absent, but I wish very much I had been able to include the meeting place of Hindmarsh's Swedenborgian New Church in Great Eastcheap, just east of the starred location of London Stone.

    And I wish the cartographer had chosen not to put minarets, or whatever they are, on the Tower of London.

    Still more, I wish the label for the new London map weren't covering Bunhill Fields, clearly visible on the first-edition map, where Finsbury Place forks to the northeast and joins City Road.

  22. In the first-edition map, the underground course of Tyburn Brook comes to the surface near the intersection of Oxford Street and Stratford Place and plunges back undergound as it should in Green Park, just south of Piccadilly; in the new map it stops short at Piccadilly. Nevertheless, even though the colors weren't my idea and the stress of adding them at the proofreading stage was almost unbearable, I very much like the result. Although the map now holds dozens of new sites, not only more patrons and landmarks but also Langford's Auction House where Blake started his print collection, each one is easier to see and to distinguish from those in other categories. In short, the unexpected addition of color greatly contributes to the new map's clarity, legibility, and usefulness.

  23. Of all the nitty-gritty trade-offs and editorial histrionics that went into the making of the 2008 Norton Blake, the color maps on the endpapers best exemplify the unmerited grace, the blessed serendipity that is always possible amidst the contingencies and exigencies of editorial praxis.


[1] As discussed in his "Crafting Editorial Settlements," Romanticism on the Net 1996-2006: Celebrating Ten Years of Online Publishing (February-May 2006),, these are "something like treaties with term limits" that operate "by negotiation and mutual accommodation, but they usually have built into them elements of forceful imposition. They are most often [. . .] imposed by the requirements of the editors' time and situation—the editorial version of posterity—and imposed by the living upon the defenseless dead" (par. 6). In Eaves's sweeping historical overview, well worth summarizing here, the nineteenth century settlement of radical normalization established a literary and artistic niche for Blake by splitting his legacy into conventional categories of words and pictures, culling out and repackaging his words in a form envisioned by W. M. Rossetti, "with clear print, reasonable division of lines, and like aids to business-like perusal" (qtd. in par. 8), and shifting the art to the sidelines. The twentieth century settlement of consolidation and institutionalization led to the Keynes edition and then to the work of scholars and art historians, within their respective fields, who created the essential disciplinary resources of "printed editions of rigorously edited texts [Erdman and Bentley], extensive catalogues of engravings [Bindman, Essick], drawings, and paintings [Butlin], extensive bibliographies [Bentley]" and biographical records [Bentley] (par. 18; my bracketed insertions). The early twenty-first century settlement of reorienting, reverting, and superconsolidation has so far led to "x-editing," the interactive, collaborative, offsite, highly adaptive, approximate, tentative, experimental, and "radically incomplete" process (par. 28) that is producing the ongoing Blake Archive, simultaneously "liberat[ing] editing from old compromises" and "generating fresh compromises whose hallmark is daunting, potentially paralyzing uncertainty," "on the brink of the known editorial universe" (par. 33).

[2] There is much to be said in favor of a reader-friendly text: as Essick has confessed, "When I read Blake just for fun, even serious fun, I read the Geoffrey Keynes edition. I think he [. . .] did a fine job at using twentieth-century punctuation conventions to represent Blake's verbal content" (Kraus 188-89). Readers of Blake are blessed with a wide array of options. Besides the Stevenson and Fuller editions discussed in this issue, and Alicia Ostriker's highly regarded, fully annotated Penguin edition, substantial editions in print prepared with students and nonspecialists in mind include, most recently, selections by G. E. Bentley, Jr. (Penguin) in which, according to "A Note on the Texts," xxxii-xxxv, the editor has "silently added punctuation where there might otherwise be confusion" and "retained Blake's eighteenth-century and sometimes idiosyncratic spelling [ . . .] but [. . .] silently corrected mere errors in transcription [. . . ]." (xxxiii) and by Michael Mason (Oxford World's Classics)—reviewed, with negative comparisons to annotations in the 1979 Norton Blake by E. B. Murray (esp. 147-53). Of the two non-facsimile specialist editions, that of David V. Erdman, Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, first published in 1965 and most recently revised in 1988, has remained the standard in advanced courses and in scholarly citations in part because of its portability and affordability. On the many merits of G. E. Bentley, Jr.'s 1978 sholarly edition, see John E. Grant's essay review.

[3] Discussed most fully in "Theory, Literary Pragmatics, and the Editorial Horizon," the opening chapter of his The Textual Condition (19-47); presented more briefly in "Literary Pragmatics and the Editorial Horizon."

[4] A strong exception is Morris Eaves's cri di coeur on electronic editing in "Multimedia Body Plans: A Self-Assessment": "If you listen closely to editors editing, you will always hear the harsh sounds of primal conflict as visionary aspirations clash with reality. In a techno-commercial world the pressures of hard necessity bear down no less on editing with electrons than with ink, wood, or flesh. Yet somehow the fleshly editors of the amazing William Blake Archive continue to provide electronic access to images of all of Blake's illuminated books (and eventually all copies of all of these books) as well as works in other media while also keeping their electronic existence current through waves of technological change. (On a doomed, too-early, pre-Web effort with similar first-phase goals, see my account of the Iowa Blake Videodisc Project.)

[5] This was of course long before McGann's revolutionary work on editing texts of Blake's period in A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism, in which McGann insists that "good nonspecialist editions can involve as much scholarly intelligence as critical editions" in that they "incorporate in the reading text alone a process of historical translation analogous to what the scholar sets forth through his critical apparatus (95-96) and notes that "The nonspecialist editor [unlike the critical editor] is perforce highly conscious of [contemporary] demands" and may even be in a position to "pass a corresponding judgment upon the work of critical editors" (96).

[6] For an informative overview of the editorial approach that I once believed was timeless, see Paul Werstine, who notes that, in all fairness, copy-text editors were the first to follow up on W. W. Greg's caveat that his method applied only to sixteenth- and seventeeth-century publishing conditions. Werstine cites Bowers on "radiating texts" in Library 5th ser., 27 (June 1972): 81-115; Thomas Tanselle, "Editorial Apparatus for Editing Radiating Texts," Library 5th ser., 29 (September 1974): 330-337 and his "Editing without a Copy-Text," Studies in Bibliography 47 (1994): 1-22; and Richard Bucci, "Tanselle's 'Editing without a Copy-Text: Genesis, Issues, Prospects," Studies in Bibliography 56 (2003-2004): 1-44. These matters are also helpfully reviewed by W. Speed Hill.

[7] Our sense of what constitutes syntactical egregiousness has greatly mellowed over time. For example, "Damn braces: Bless relaxes," the 1979 Norton text for item 57 in "Proverbs of Hell," follows Keynes in utterly effacing Blake's indubitable dot after "Damn." But the 2008 Norton text, "Damn, braces: Bless relaxes," despite its further complicating parsing ambiguities (noted in my "The Devil's Syntax and the OED"), follows editors of the Blake Archive in at least acknowledging the existence of some sort of mark in our source text printed from Blake's now lost etched plate—whether a true authorial period introduced perversely or indifferently; or an autographically original comma that lost its tail in the etching bath, mentioned by Viscomi (Kraus 185); or "an ovoid shape somewhere between a period and a comma," mentioned by Essick (Kraus 188); or just a random (or purposeful?) protrusion that made a different impression in different copies. Embarrassingly, a 2008 error that must be corrected in future printings occurs in the very line cited to illustrate the problem of Blake's intrusive dots (601): the 2008 comma in Visions of the Daughters of Albion 9/6:21 (63), changed from a period, should be a semicolon, as in the 1979 edition (please see the appendix, "'Illuminated Woks': Errata in the 2008 Norton Blake").

[8] For Jerusalem, as part of our agreement to contribute $1,000 to IATH, the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, which then housed the William Blake Archive, the Archive editors generously provided the services of the then-assistant Justin Van Kleeck, to remove the Archive's formatting and convert the text to .rtf format, a time-consuming task which Justin graciously completed off the clock. For conversion of other texts, we hired a local assistant to help with the most efficient method I could devise: assign the "Paste Special" command in Word to control-shift-v, followed by "u" for "unformatted," to bring the words into .rtf; then use "Find-Special-Any Digit," followed by "Replace All," to get rid of the Archive's left-side line numbering, and renumber manually on the right. Incidentally, a drawback of taking on a revised edition as a retirement project is that all institutionally provided part-time research assistant services, quite rightly, are devoted to supporting the work of active-duty faculty members (as acknowledged in our first edition [xxvii]). In the Preface to the second edition, I neglected to express my gratitude to the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies and its director, Jay Semel, on the University of Iowa's Oakdale Research Campus, for giving me a much-needed summer pied-à-terre for my transition back to the scholarly life during my phased retirement from the President's Office in 2000.

[9] Similarly, our heavy use of the wonderfully convenient and fast-operating Blake Concordance of "eE," the electronic Erdman on Nelson Hilton's University of Georgia site, < Concordance/>, enabled us to catch scanning errors that Hilton immediately fixed. By the time the 2008 Norton Blake finally appeared, some of our other links to the UGA site had ceased to work, but when Nelson noticed the problem after receiving an early copy, he generously retrofitted repairs from his end. We deeply regret that our attempted recognition of the eE Concordance in "Abbreviations" (xvii), a section added after the first-pass proofs, resulted in a third-pass proof error that forced deletion of the whole entry.

[10] For an example, as if one were needed, of the shifting horizon of editorial perspective, see Grant's 1982 forecast: "Now that Erdman's complete edition has appeared, scholars will be able to abandon the Erdman/Keynes dual citations without feeling compelled to take up a Bentley/Erdman system. [. . .] Bentley's new system of plate numbering is inherently preferable to the one established by Keynes and followed, with modifications, by Erdman, but Keynes's system is now too well established, and too many scholarly and critical works are keyed to it, to justify another radical change that would necessitate future use of dual plate references" (Grant, "Who Shall Bind the Infinite? " 283-84). At present, in addition to its own "object" numbers, the William Blake Archive provides the Bentley, Erdman, and Keynes plate numbers but refrains from cluttering its renumbered lines with a dual lineation system.

[11] The 1979 Norton Blake was the first to use Blake's title for this work (bracketed after the conventional title, The Laocoön), a practice since strongly advocated by Morton D. Paley (53-100). The full design (titled Laocoön) is reproduced most clearly in Milton a Poem and the Final Illuminated Works: Blake's Illuminated Books 5, ed. Robert N. Essick and Joseph Viscomi (Princeton: William Blake Trust / Princeton University Press, 1993) and, as Laocoön, in the William Blake Archive and in Fuller's edition. The text is harder to read in the reduced reproduction in Bentley and in the accidentally reversed white-on-black reproduction in the 1988 Erdman edition (corrected, but terribly blurred, in the 2008 edition). Another innovation of the 1979 Norton Blake, the "Conclusion"-"Application"-"Therefore" closing page sequence of Blake's unsorted and unnumbered plates for There is No Natural Religion (1979, 15; 2008, 7) has since been generally adopted.

[12] On pp. 18-22 the Group critiques Harold Bloom's unrevised Commentary, a section unchanged in the latest "newly revised" edition of 2008. Citing the Santa Cruz Study Group's review, McGann goes so far as to call the Erdman edition "[i]n one sense [. . .] a travesty of Blake's original authorial intentions" because "the typographical format has forced Erdman into attempting a translation of the linguistic components of Blake's work only, the lexical and grammatical levels of its textuality"—its "linguistic" but not its "bibliographical signifiers" ("What is Critical Editing?"—originally in A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism; here quoted from McGann's The Textual Condition 53, 56-57).

[13] For example, Wolfson as an editor retains the short, doubly hyphenated prose lines of All Religions are One and There is No Natural Religion and the double columns of "The Fly" in her Longman edition (107-08, 119), in keeping with her attention as a critic to the "semantic beyond the semantic of words" in Blake's "scriptive signifying" that "operates in lines, in discrete words, even in syllables" in her Formal Charges (33). Eaves amusingly recalls the Blake Archive editors' arguing for months over line numbering (Kraus 176-77).

[14] Wolfson, who graciously read an earlier draft of this piece, was of course fully aware of Blake's numbering of stanzas in the Notebook, but as she noted in a follow-up e-mail (on an unrelated subject), she considers the plate

a separate, if not independent, version of the poem, the arrangement of which, accidentally or intentionally, offers new interpretive horizons. This is not a compositor's design, but Blake's own, and he was nothing if not attentive. But even if he had been just thinking in columns, with no side-thought about horizontal reading, the design he creates has the effect of inviting the latter. So I would not exclude it. The reader has agency as well as the author—this is the old argument about the absolute prescription and government of authorial intentions over textual effects. But I think it also supplies yet another instance for Don Reiman's theory of textual versioning, of all texts having a place in the discussion. [ . . .] The Fly is completely unique in Songs for this column arrangement, and it compels attention, I think, rather than rejection.

Wolfson also recalled, referring to The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, that she "had a real fight, with every edition of the anthology, to maintain this page-expensive format"—something that the much narrower pages of the Norton edition physically could not have accommodated. In connection with Reiman's "versioning," see also Stillinger's "practical theory of versions" (118-40).

[15] First-pass proofreading was slowed by extra-large headings and titles, some marked as major section heads requiring page breaks, making art placement difficult and exaggerating the overall page count. To stay on schedule, we focused mainly on page-altering problems at this stage and deferred to the next round, when we had recomposed pages in hand, most of the ordinary chores of proofreading such as catching editorial and printer's errors, filling in cross-references, and flagging misplaced or poorly coordinated designs, some of which persisted into and beyond the third-pass proofs.

[16] For example, in the last "Memorable Fancy" of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (on plate 23), the new footnote (80, n. 2) glossing an Angel's colorful reaction to a Devil's unorthodox remark stops with comparing Raphael's blushing response to Adam's question about angelic lovemaking in Paradise Lost 8.619, omitting the extensive quotation from True Christian Religion in the first edition to illustrate the point that "Such disputations in the spiritual world are common in Swedenborg's visions" (99, n. 8). Sometimes, though, our cuts went too far: in simplifying the timing of the charity schoolchildren's procession to St. Paul's to thank their benefactors, we referred to "annual springtime services" (22, n. 1) but neglected to note, as in the first edition, that the event occurred neither "on Maundy Thursday (before Easter) or Ascension Day (forty days thereafter)" (21, n. 4), with a citation of Thomas E. Connolly's 1975 research. (Ascension Day is the thirty-ninth day after Easter, the fortieth day of Eastertide in the church calendar.) On balance, nevertheless, the notes collectively serve their intended purpose, and some—such as the one on the origin of "Woman! lovely woman!" in Thomas Otway's Venice Preserv'd (101, n. 3)—actually contain information unavailable elsewhere.

Works Cited

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---, ed. William Blake's Writings. 2 vols. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977. Rpt. 2001.

Bindman, David, gen. ed. Blake's Illuminated Books. 6 vols. Princeton: The William Blake Trust and Princeton University Press; London: The William Blake Trust and Tate Gallery Publications, 1991-95. Paperback 1994-98.

1. Paley, Morton D., ed. Jerusalem: The Emanation of the Giant Albion. 1991/1997.

2. Lincoln, Andrew, ed. Songs of Innocence and of Experience. 1991/1994.

3. Eaves, Morris, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, eds. The Early Illuminated Books. 1994/1998.

4. Dörrbecker, D. W. The Continental Prophecies. 1994/1998.

5. Essick, Robert N. and Joseph Viscomi, eds. Milton a Poem and The Final Illuminated Works. 1993/1998.

6. Worrall, David. The Urizen Books. 1995/1998.

Bogan, James. "Blake on a Bike: Following the Footsteps of Los' Epic Ramble in Jerusalem." Journal of the Blake Society 2 (1996).

Connolly, Thomas E. "The Real 'Holy Thursday' of William Blake." Blake Studies 6.2 (1975): 179-87.

Davies, Keri and Marsha Keith Schuchard. "Recovering the Lost Moravian History of William Blake's Family." Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly 38.1 (2004): 36-57.

Eaves, Morris. "Crafting Editorial Settlements." Romanticism on the Net 1996-2006: Celebrating Ten Years of Online Publishing. February-May 2006. 1 September 2008 <>.

---. "Multimedia Body Plans: A Self-Assessment," in Electronic Scholarly Editing, Modern Language Association-Text Encoding Initiative, 2006. <>

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Erdman, David V., ed. The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake. 1965. Newly Revised Edition. Commentary by Harold Bloom. New York: Doubleday Anchor, 1988.
Standard edition for scholarly citation. Also available as "eE" in the Blake Digital Text Project directed by Nelson Hilton, 2003. Web. Dec. 1, 2008.
<>; <>,
including an invaluable Concordance, <>.
The Hilton team's electronic transcription of the 1988 Erdman is also the basis of the Erdman text in the William Blake Archive
Erdman's text and Bloom's commentary are unchanged in the latest edition, "With a New Foreword and Commentary by Harold Bloom." Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008.

Fuller, David, ed. William Blake: Selected Poetry and Prose. [2000]. Longman Annotated Texts. Harlow, England: Pearson Longman, 2008.

Gardner, Stanley. The Tyger, the Lamb, and the Terrible Desart: Songs of Innocence and of Experience in Its Times and Circumstance: Including Facsimiles of Two Copies. Madison, NJ: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 1998.

Grant, John E. "Review Article: Who Shall Bind the Infinite and Arrange It in Libraries? [Bentley's] William Blake's Writings and Blake Books." PQ 61.3 (summer 1982): 277-304.

Hill, W. Speed. "Theory and Practice in Anglo-American Editing," Anglia: Zeitschrift für englishe Philologie. 119.3 (2002): 327-350.

Johnson, Mary Lynn, and John E. Grant, ed. Blake's Poetry and Designs. Norton Critical Edition. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2008.

---. Blake's Poetry and Designs. Norton Critical Edition. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1979.

Johnson, Mary Lynn. "The Devil's Syntax and the OED." Blake Newsletter [later Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly] 3.3 (1969): 94.

---. "FZ vs. Jerusalem." E-mail to North American Society for the Study of Romanticism. 3 January 2003.

---. "[I]mpasse and proposed trade-offs." E-mail to Carol Bemis. 16 February 2004.

---. "The Iowa Blake Videodisc Project: A Cautionary Tale." The Wordsworth Circle 30.3 (1999). 131-35.

---. "Mapping Blake's London" Blake: An Illuminated Quarterly 10.4 (1977): 117-22.

---. "The MS." E-mail to Brian Baker. 14 April 2006.

---. "[E]diting seminar." E-mail to Neil Fraistat. 14 June 2004.

---. "Textual Technicalities." E-mail to Morris Eaves. 29 April 2004.

---. "[T]extual technicalities." E-mail to Joseph Viscomi. 28 April 2004.

Keynes, Geoffrey, ed. The Complete Writings of William Blake. 1925. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1966. Corr. rpt. 1972, 1979, 1991.

Kraus, Kari. "'Once Only Imagined': An Interview with Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi." Studies in Romanticism 41.2 (2002): 143-199.
Co-published as a Romantic Circles Praxis Volume. January 2003. Web. Dec. 1, 2008. <>.

Malik, Rachel. "Horizons of the Publishable: Publishing in / as Literary Studies." ELH 75.3 (2008): 707-35.

Mason, Michael, ed. William Blake: Selected Poetry. Oxford World's Classics. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998.

McGann, Jerome J. A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago P, 1983. Rpt. Charlottesville: Univ. Press of Virginia, 1992.

---. "Literary Pragmatics and the Editorial Horizon." In Philip G. Cohen, ed., Devils and Angels. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1991. 1-21.

---. The Textual Condition. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1991.

Michael, Jennifer Davis. Re: "feedback." E-mail to Mary Lynn Johnson. 25 September 2004.

Miner, Paul. "Blake's London: Times & Spaces." Studies in Romanticism 41.2 (2002): 279-316.

Murray, E. B. Rev. of The Essential Blake [. . .] by Stanley Kunitz, ed., William Blake [. . .] by Michael Mason, ed., and William Blake: Selected Poetry and Prose by David Punter, ed. Blake: An Illustrated Quarterly 24.4 (1991): 145-57.

Ostriker, Alicia. William Blake: The Complete Poems. Harmondsworth: Penguin Group, 1977. Corr. rpt. 1986, 2004.

Phillips, Michael. "No. 13 Hercules Buildings, Lambeth: William Blake's Printmaking Workshop and Etching-painting Studio Recovered." British Art Journal 5.1 (2004): 13-21.

Paley, Morton D. The Traveller in the Evening: The Late Works of William Blake. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2003.

Pascoe, Judith. "blake editions." E-mail to Mary Lynn Johnson. 14 February 2003.

Patenaude, Troy R. C. "'The glory of a Nation': Recovering William Blake's 1809 Exhibition." British Art Journal 4.1 (2003): 52-63.

Reiman, Donald H. and Neil Fraistat, eds. Shelley's Poetry and Prose. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2002.

Reiman, Donald H. "Re: Serious Norton Critical Edition problem." E-mail to Mary Lynn Johnson. 20 April 2006.

---. "'Versioning': The Presentation of Mutiple Texts." Romantic Texts and Contexts. Columbia: Univ. of Missouri Press, 1987: 167-80.

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