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Romanticism on the Net

Numéro 41-42, février-mai 2006

Romanticism on the Net 1996-2006: Celebrating Ten Years of Online Publishing

Sous la direction de Dino Franco Felluga

Direction : Michael Eberle-Sinatra (directeur)

Éditeur : Université de Montréal

ISSN : 1467-1255 (numérique)

DOI : 10.7202/013151ar

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Blake’s Virtual Designs and Reconstruction of The Song of Los

Joseph Viscomi

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


In this essay, I realize digitally the virtual designs that Blake evokes in The Song of Los and other illuminated books. Blake’s virtual designs are designs we create mentally by recombining an illuminated book’s related images. By visualizing mental images concretely, we reify the experiences of memory and imagination, comparison and contrast, that we employ when reading/seeing Blake's works. Moreover, by doing so, we engage in creative processes involving memory and imagination similar to Blake's own when inventing new designs from elements of others. I also realize digitally the original horizontal designs for Blake's “Africa” and “Asia” in The Song of Los before they were altered in printing. As originally executed, each poem functioned autonomously, with text superimposed on a landscape design. Digital recreations demonstrate how radically Blake fused poetry, painting, and printmaking, creating panels, broadsides, or scrolls rather than book pages, and how Song of Los, as printed, was Blake’s attempt to reconstruct an experiment about which he had changed his mind.


I would like to thanks Robert Essick and Morris Eaves for reading an early draft of this essay and Todd Stabley, Multimedia Consultant, Center for Instructional Technology, formerly of my university for his assistance in creating the digital images of virtual designs.

Auteur : Joseph Viscomi
Titre : Blake’s Virtual Designs and Reconstruction of The Song of Los
Revue : Romanticism on the Net, Numéro 41-42, février-mai 2006
URI : http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/013151ar
DOI : 10.7202/013151ar

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