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Wayne C. Ripley and Justin Van Kleeck, eds., Editing and Reading Blake

Nelson Hilton

Abstract


I remember being introduced to a senior scholar at a summer Huntington Library lawn party a generation ago and his inquiring politely, “Well, what’s your angle?” Stephen Dedalus’s inner panic to “say something” flashed to Steelyard the Lawgiver’s Island in the Moon reassurance that “every person has a something” as I fumbled to come up with a dissertation abstract. Those more than thirty years past rise again in contemplating the analogous age differences between the two sets of contributors to this Romantic Circles electronic collection, which presents the efforts of four “younger Blake editors and scholars” and three “established” ones. The latter, Mary Lynn Johnson, W. H. Stevenson, and David Fuller, are doubtless familiar to subscribers of this journal for their three different “successful print editions” of “texts designed to appeal to first-time readers of Blake,” while the former, Rachel Lee, J. Alexandra McGhee, and co-editors Wayne C. Ripley and Justin Van Kleeck, “have all worked as project assistants to the Blake Archive and received their graduate training from its editors” (introduction, par. 4; Johnson, par. 2). With the concise print elders accounting for less than a third of the volume (in my printout, anyway, and not counting the errata sheet for Johnson and Grant’s second edition, for which there is no editorially supplied print option), and the organizers’ point taken that “Stevenson, Johnson, and Fuller all see their editions being used in connection with the Blake Archive” (introduction, par. 7), the juxtaposition carries the sense of staged generational baton-passing to celebrate the expanding empire of the Blake Archive.


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