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30 August 2016

The William Blake Archive is pleased to announce the publication of an electronic edition of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell copy A, from the Houghton Library, Harvard University. It joins copy B from the Bodleian Library, copies C and F from the Morgan Library and Museum, copy D from the Library of Congress, copies E, H, and I from the Fitzwilliam Museum, and copy G from the Houghton Library. The Archive has now published all nine complete extant copies of this illuminated book, as well as copies K (Fitzwilliam Museum, plates 21-24 only), L (Essick Collection, plates 25-27 only), and M (Victoria University Library, plates 25-27 only). These may have been printed as separate pamphlets. The complete copies from the first printing in 1790 are A-C, H. Copies E and F were color printed in 1794; large-paper copy D was produced in 1795. Only two later copies are known: G (c. 1818) and I (1827). Copy G has a variant arrangement of the plates: 1-11, 15, 14, 12-13, 16-27.

This is the first time that all copies of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell have been represented in any medium, print or digital. It is the seventh illuminated book with its entire publishing history reproduced in the Archive. The others are There is No Natural Religion, The Song of Los, Milton a Poem, All Religions are One, The Book of Ahania, and The Book of Los.

With the publication of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell copy A, the Archive now contains fully searchable and scalable electronic editions of 99 copies of Blake's nineteen illuminated books in the context of full bibliographic information about each work, careful diplomatic transcriptions of all texts, detailed descriptions of all images, and extensive bibliographies. New protocols for transcription, which produce improved accuracy and fuller documentation in editors' notes, have been applied to all copies of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell in the Archive. With the Archive's Compare feature, users can easily juxtapose multiple impressions of any plate across all or selected copies of this or any of the other illuminated books and, with the Virtual Lightbox, users can examine any images in the Archive, as well as crop, zoom, and juxtapose them for close study.

In addition to illuminated books, the Archive contains many important manuscripts and series of engravings, color printed drawings, tempera paintings, and water color drawings. In 2014 the Archive added a new wing devoted to searchable HTML and PDF editions of back issues of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly, thus making public some of the most important scholarly work done in Blake studies over the past half-century. PDF versions present the journal as originally published, but the HTML versions are re-implemented with many full-color images from the Blake Archive, making it possible for users to link directly to those works that have been published in the Archive. All issues through summer 2011 are now available, except those from the 1970s, which are forthcoming. Issues published within five years of the current issue will remain available only to those who subscribe to theĀ journal.

As always, the William Blake Archive is a free site, imposing no access restrictions and charging no subscription fees. The site is made possible by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the University of Rochester, the continuing support of the Library of Congress, and the cooperation of the international array of libraries and museums that have generously given us permission to reproduce works from their collections in the Archive.

Morris Eaves, Robert N. Essick, and Joseph Viscomi, editors
Joseph Fletcher, assistant editor, Michael Fox, technical editor
The William Blake Archive

The Book of Urizen, copy G, plate 5, Library of Congress