The William Blake Archive is a hypermedia archive featuring scholarly digital editions of the poems, prints, and paintings of William Blake (1757-1787).As one of the most prolific figures in classic English literary and visual studies, Blake is one of the few artists to grow and maintain both cultural and scholarly popularity into the present day. Since the advent of a Victorian-led Blake revival, Blake’s work has been countlessly anthologized and relentlessly studied. And as scholars perpetuate Blake’s intellectual legacy, auctioneers confirm his cultural relevance, with Blake works often selling for millions and setting records for British literature.
The Blake Archive was envisioned as a response to Blake’s sustained status, to provide scholars and the public with exceptional digital reproductions “that are more accurate in color, detail, and scale than the finest commercially published photomechanical reproductions and texts that are more faithful to Blake’s own than any collected edition has provided” (“Plan of the Archive“).
Since 1996, the Blake Archive has existed as a free site on the World Wide Web, setting historical benchmarks for digital editorial projects and contributing to the foundation of “Digital Humanities” as they are practiced today. In 2003, the Archive received the MLA’s Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition, and in 2005 it received the MLA Committee on Scholarly Editions’ Approved Edition seal–both firsts for any digital editorial project. Currently, the Archive is undergoing a site-wide redesign–its first since the site’s public launch in 1996.
Current operations of the Blake Archive are, generally, split between partner institutions University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and University of Rochester. Blake Archive North Division (BAND) at UR is an affiliated research project of the Mellon Graduate Program in Digital Humanities, exchanging training and support with current Mellon Fellows.
Morris Eaves, University of Rochester
Robert N. Essick, University of California, Riverside
Joseph Viscomi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The Blake Archive is sponsored by the Library of Congress and supported by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Rochester, and the Scholarly Editions and Translations Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The archive has received past support from the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia, the Getty Grant Program, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, the Preservation and Access Division of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Sun Microsystems, and Inso Corporation.
To date, 44 collections, contributing nearly 6500 images, have granted us permission to include their works without fees, among them the British Library, British Museum, Tate Britain, Fitzwilliam Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Huntington Library and Art Gallery, Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum, New York Public Library, Harvard University, Fogg Museum, Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Metropolitan Museum, Yale Center for British Art, National Gallery of Art, and the Library of Congress.
PI: Morris Eaves, Department of English