After reading Chapters 3-4 in Literature in Digital Age, we considered the experience of reading a poem’s text once it has been printed in a book: either the experience of reading a pdf that is a digital reproduction of a printed text of Blake’s poems or a webpage that has used a printed book as its source for the text, as with the link to the text of Dickinson’s poems on PoetryFoundation.org.
We then compared that experience with reading the same poem in the digital archive–both The William Blake Archive, which contains all surviving copies of William Blake’s published engravings, or the Emily Dickinson Archive, which provides digital reproductions of Dickison’s manuscript “fascicles.”
We considered how the meaning of the poem in question changes (in manuscript handwriting v. printed type, arrangement on page, illustrations), how the material mode in which we read something affects how we receive it, and what information is available in either case that makes us question how we might have read a poem in print form.
We also watched a video outlining Blake’s engraving production process. You can watch it again below: