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VISIONS OF BLAKE 251 VISIONS OF BLAKE" David V. Erdman's Illuminated Blake~ is a major work of scholarship and an important piece of interpretation which every Blake student and literary library will need to acquire, both for its Blake beauty and for its Erdman information. It immediately becomes one of the central Blake texts, along with the editions of Blake's works in conventional typography by Keynes (1957) and Erdman (1964), the bibliographical work of Sir Geoffrey Keynes (1921, 1953 etc.), the Concordance organized by Erdman (1967), the biography of Gilchrist (1863), and the criticism of Damon (1924), Frye (1947), and Erdman (1954).' It will be widely required as a student text and frequently cited by scholars. The Illuminated Blake will have a major effect on Blake scholarship for the rest of this century. It is important primarily in three major areas: (1) as the only complete series of reproductions of Blake's works in Illuminated Printing, ie, of all the works he published save Descriptive Catalogue (1809) in conventional typography and save 'To the Public' which has not been traced since about 1863; (2) as the only complete description of aU Blake's printed designs? indeed the only detailed description of most of them; (3) as the only detailed interpretation of most of these designs. In each area, The Illumina ted Blake will be enormously influential. (1) THE REPRODUCTIONS: The only previous attempt to reproduce Blake's works in Illuminated Printing in extenso was in The Works ofWilliam Blake edited by E.). Ellis and W.B. Yeats (3 vols., 1893),' and these were copied fallibly by hand, reproduced in black-and-white lithography, giving avaluable but rough approximation of Blake's designs which sometimes left the texts illegible. Most of Blake's works in Illuminated Printing have also been reproduced in colour, notably in the great lithographic series by Edwin Muir and his family (1884-1927) and in the wonderful Blake Trust series, still in progress, by the Trianon Press method of offset and stencil. At least six different copies of Blake's Songs (copies A, T, U, Z, a, b) have been reproduced at various times, and even four copies of his Jerusalem (B, C, D, E) have appeared in reliable facsimile. However, a few of Blake's works in Illuminated Printing such as The Book ofLos, The Song ofLos , and The Ghost of Abel had never been reproduced in photographic facsimile. For convenient access to all Blake's works in Illuminated Printing, and particularly for easy comparison of a design in one work with a similar one in another, The Illuminated Blake is wonderfully useful - and remarkably cheap at $8.75 in its paperback form. The reproductions are, of course, in black and white, and for many of the originals this is little disadvantage, for though they were printed by Blake in sepia, green, blue, etc., as well as black, they were not tinted at all (eg, For Children , The Ghost of Abel) or at least a few copies were left untinted by Blake (eg, Songs, Jerusalem) . Even for the works for which all known copies are coloured, such as Urizen and Milton, the black-and-white reproductions are fairly satisfactory , and in any case Dr Erdman regularly gives extensive notes about the "The Illuminated Blake Annotated by David V. Erdman: All of William Blake's Illuminated Works with a Plate-by-Plate Commentary. Garden City, New York: Anchor Press! Doubleday 1974. Pp 416. $25.00 doth, $8.75 paper 252 G.E. BENTLEY, JR colouring of the copies he has seen. Considerable care has been taken to choose the copies, or even individual plates, most suitable for reproduction, and the facsimiles are mostly eclectic ones. There are a very few oddities in the reproductions. Several of the plates (eg, America pI. I, 15, Jerusalem pI. 1,99-100) are reproduced from coloured originals, though monotone originals were available. Jerusalem pI. 1 (copy E) is strangely reproduced without its unique watercoloured border, though the border is described in Erdman's text, and Songs pI. b is a 'reproduction from a reconstitution of a "plate-perfect image'" - what other changes have been made to the plates? A...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 251-258
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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