I have been perusing the William Blake Archive that I was linked to in this class: http://www.blakearchive.org, and I find this archive particularly interesting in the context of the McGann reading's assertions of the value of physical artifact of a book for the dissemmination of textual information. The archive seems to in every way strive not only to provide the physical feel of the book, along with the notes it allows users to take in the margins on various sections that can then be viewed by other users. However, it also makes the experience of reading the various poems and works by Blake inherently different. Because sthe notes in the margins are not merely added by a single user or those users who touched the book before, the notes being viewed are often from students, scholars, and interested people from all over the world and provide in-depth discussions and even small essays on each line and stanza. This inherently changes the experience of receiving a book and reading it unmediated by other users thoughts and ideas, as these comments can be easily seen and accessed while the poem itself is being read. This has its benefits and possible drawbacks, as it could potentally interrupt the process of users who are perusing the text for the first time while they are formulating their own opinions, emotions and thoughts, and in doing so, inject the ideas of outside sources that may override those early impressions and questions. This is especially interesting and important to consider when it comes to Blake, who believed that Error was equally as important as creation, and was even a synonym of it. In allowing readers to access the writings of scholars and students while reading, it may take away from this process of error in reading, in which readers misunderstand or misconstrue the text itself, something that Blake thought was of the utmost importance.
The William Blake Archive as messy scholar's notes
Submitted by Sydney Rubin on Thu, 09/17/2020 - 18:38