Blake Archive: America A Prophecy

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The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of the electronic edition of America a Prophecy copy M. One of 14 extant copies, and one of only four that are colored, copy M was printed c. 1807. Now in the Yale Center for British Art, it joins copies A, E, and O in the Archive and will be joined by copies F and H in the near future.

America is dated 1793 on its title plate, and the first ten copies were printed that year followed in 1795 by two more copies. Copies E (1793) and A (1795) are from these two printing sessions. Copy O was the last to be printed, c. 1818. With the addition of copy M, the printing history of America is fully represented in the Archive.

Copy M, however, is an oddity, for it was uniquely printed with no other works during a period when Blake appears to have been generally inactive in the printing of his illuminated books. It is the only illuminated book printed on Hayes & Wise 1799 paper and with most of its plates printed in blue ink. It appears to have been printed while Blake was proofing various plates from the first two chapters of Jerusalem, some of which are also in blue ink. A few of these proofs will enter the Archive in the near future.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Andrea Laue, technical editor
The William Blake Archive

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