Alexander Gilchrist
Life of William Blake. Vol. I

The Life of William Blake, ‘Pictor Ignotus’, by Alexander Gilchrist, is of seminal importance in the creation of Blake’s reputation in the nineteenth century.  It occupies the key role in the reception history of Blake’s work & his influence on other writers & artists.  I have restricted myself to producing a literal transcription of Vol. I of Gilchrist’s Life of William Blake (1863),  though it was the work as a whole that made the great impact in 1863. However, only Vol. I has a current validity in that it is still the only source for much of what we know about Blake’s life. Vol. II contains a selection of the poetry & a catalogue of the paintings, & has an importance in the reception history of Blake’s work but is in other respects irrelevant to modern Blake studies.  I have chosen the first (1863) edition of Gilchrist, in preference to the 2nd edition of 1880, as my copy text.

The transcript currently employs just one single typeface & one type height, with only regular & CAPS forms. I use double-underline to indicate those few words which are in black-letter. Paragraphs are separated by a line-space, except within extended prose quotations. For clarity, page numbers are consistently shown on top left & enclosed in [brackets]. Additional pagination is indicated by [italics within brackets]. Running-titles are omitted, as is all text on frontispiece & plates. The text was transcribed 19 January 2000.

Last modified 22/03/2008 09:21.