8 December 2010 - William Blake’s watercolour illustrations for the 1797 edition of Edward Young’s Night Thoughts (1742-5)
Led by Dr Luisa Calè (English & Humanities, Birkbeck). This Reading Group session will take place in Room 112, 43 Gordon Square, at 1-2.30pm
Details of the session:
In this session we will discuss the 1797 edn of Edward Young's Night Thoughts, which reproduced the first four (out of nine) nights with 43 engravings by Blake. Blake disbound and mounted the pages of a copy of the 1742-5 Night Thoughts on larger sheets of paper and illustrated each page for a total of 537 watercolour surrounds.
In the introduction, Luisa will compare the two versions and raise some questions that this edition opens up in her research project on 'The Book Unbound'. She will focus on the material composition, poetics, and aesthetics of the composite page, on book practices, and on the different rhythms of reading and viewing in the two versions, and then focus on a couple of examples
In preparation for the reading group session, please read as much as you can of the first four nights, with special emphasis on Nights 2 and 4. You can download the 1797 edition from Eighteenth-Century Collections Online (ECCO), access provided by University of London Library, Senate House, under Databases. This link should take you there directly, and you will be prompted to put in your Senate House Library login details.
Dr Luisa Calè is the author of Fuseli’s Milton Gallery: ‘Turning Readers into Spectators’ (2006), of essays on Blake, the 1790s, and Dickens, and the coeditor of Dante on View: The Reception of Dante in the Visual and Performative Arts (2007) and Illustrations, Optics and Objects in Nineteenth-Century Literary and Visual Culture (2010). She is part of an international network on ‘The Disorder of Things: Predisciplinarity and the Divisions of Knowledge 1660-1850’ run in association with the University of California, Riverside. Her current research project, entitled ‘The Book Unbound’, explores practices of reading and collecting from Walpole to Artists’ books.