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Erdman’s Pagination of The Four Zoas

In their 1987 facsimile of The Four Zoas, David Erdman and Cettina Magno rearrange the pages of the manuscript “in the sequence now recognized as least departing from the textual sequences called for by Blake’s own marks of instruction” (16).11. The Four Zoas by William Blake: A Photographic Facsimile of the Manuscript with Commentary on the Illuminations, eds. Cettina Tramontano Magno and David V. Erdman (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1987). This change in sequence involved the renumbering of twenty-four pages over twelve leaves, which Erdman presents in the following chart:

19 [21] 87 [95] 95 [87] 105 [113] 109 [105] 113 [109]
20 [22] 88 [96] 96 [88] 106 [114] 110 [106] 114 [110]
21 [19] 89 [97] 97 [89] 107 [115] 111 [107] 115 [111]
22 [20] 90 [98] 98 [90] 108 [116] 112 [108] 116 [112]

The numbers outside the brackets are those of Erdman and Magno’s new arrangement, used by their facsimile, while those inside the brackets represent the older arrangement, used most notably by Bentley’s 1963 facsimile.22. Vala; or The Four Zoas: A Facsimile of the Manuscript, a Transcript of the Poem, and a Study of its Growth and Significance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1963).

Again presenting this chart in the 1988 new revised edition of The Complete Poetry and Prose, Erdman acknowledges that to apply this new numbering in “the present text would be confusing since Blake’s poem moves about (because of his own revisions) in a sequence that does not correspond exactly to any sequence of the manuscript leaves” (E 818).33. The Complete Poetry and Prose of William Blake, ed. David V. Erdman, with commentary by Harold Bloom, rev. ed. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988). Yet, despite his recognition of the potential confusion that could result from applying these new page numbers to the poem, Erdman in practice inconsistently adopts the new numbers in his text, which drastically complicates the reader’s ability to refer back to either of the poem’s facsimiles, and this confusion is only augmented by Erdman’s decision to leave his textual notes completely in the old numbering.

To facilitate, therefore, references back to the facsimiles from the now standard 1988 edition, four tables are provided below rectifying Erdman’s inconsistencies and offering a few touchstones for negotiating between Erdman’s text and the facsimiles. The first table corrects the page numbers found in the text so that Erdman’s new numbering is consistently applied. The second changes the headings in the textual notes so that they correspond to Erdman’s text as corrected by Table 1. More difficult to rectify in the textual notes are the references to the pages that occur in Erdman’s prose. These are concentrated chiefly on page 827, for pages 19-22, and between pages 836-41, for Nights VII and VIII. As the prose of 836-41 provides in large part Erdman’s reasoning in renumbering and rearranging the manuscript pages, it may be simpler to explain this rearrangement in terms of Erdman’s new numbering.44. Erdman’s arrangement is that put forward by Mark S. Lefebvre’s “A Note on the Structural Necessity of Night VIIb” in Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly 46 (fall 1978): 134, an issue devoted to The Four Zoas. Erdman’s reasoning for accepting Lefebvre’s argument is found in his “Night the Seventh: The Editorial Problem,” which follows Lefebvre’s piece, 135-39. John Kilgore’s and Andrew Lincoln’s articles in the issue are important for coming to terms with some of the complexities of the manuscript. Lincoln’s mastery of the manuscript is more recently demonstrated in his Spiritual History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), which puts forth the best theory so far as to how the poem developed. As he notes in his Appendix 4, W. H. Stevenson, in the second edition to The Complete Poems (UK: Longman House, 1989), adopts Blake’s instructions on page 9 of the manuscript and inserts pages 19-22 at 9:33. Stevenson, it should be noted, uses the older page numbers but adopts the same arrangement of the pages as Erdman: 19 [21], 20 [22], 21 [19], and 22 [20]. In this arrangement, which is often made to sound more difficult than it is, the pages of VIIa1 begin the Night, standing unaltered as 77-85:22. What once provided the close for VIIb2, 95-98, follows, renumbered by Erdman as 87-90. This section commences on the second portion of 87 [95] where Blake has written in the margin “Beginning of Night VII” and in the text “Beginning of the Book Seventh Night” (Erdman and Magno 201). VIIb1 follows the last page of VIIb2, 90 [98], retaining its original numbers 91-94. The first portion of 87 [95] succeeds 94, followed by 85:23-47. Although it is shown in Table 1, because this page begins VIIa2, it should be noted that Erdman mislabeled what should be 85 (SECOND PORTION) as 95 [87] (SECOND PORTION) (E 367). 86 follows 85:23-47 unaltered, succeeded by the remainder of VIIa2, originally 87-90 but renumbered 95-98. These pages are made up of the Edward and Elenor print; hence, only 95 [97] and 98 [90] have text. Erdman concludes the night with the “End of the Seventh Night” from page 90 [98]. This arrangement in both numbering systems is summarized in Table 3.

Table 4 lists those manuscript pages whose texts are split up. This will preclude, I hope, fishing for where the other portions of a particular manuscript page may be in the text’s arrangement. Note here that the first portion of 91 is the title of VIIb and is not used by Erdman.

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5. This second portion begins: “But in the deeps beneath the Roots of Mystery in darkest night” (E 360). 6. This page is marked correctly in Erdman’s text, but it should be noted that the first portion to this page is “Vala / Night the Seventh” and is not included in Erdman’s text. This page is the beginning of Night VIIb. 7. This second portion begins: “Then took the tree of Mystery root in the World of Los” (E 367). 8. This page is the reverse of the Edward and Elenor print, right-hand segment. Erdman’s number for this print is 96 [88]. The number of the left-hand segment is 97 [89]. 9. This second portion reads: “End of The Seventh Night” (E 371), and is beneath two lines of textual instructions in Blake’s hand. 10. This second portion begins: “Darkness & sorrow coverd all flesh Eternity was darkend” (E 381). The first portion of this page is labeled correctly and is found on E 379. 11. This second portion reads: “[End of (The) Eighth Night]” (E 386), with the text erased and drawn over by Blake.

Table 1. The Page Numbers of the Text
Page Number from Erdman 1988 / Page of FZ as Listed There Correction Manuscript Page Begins (Citing Erdman and Magno Page Number)
E 310 / PAGE 21 PAGE 19 [21] Then those in Great Eternity met in the Council of God (133)
E 311 / PAGE 22 PAGE 20 [22] Luvah replied Dictate to thy Equals. am not I (134)
E 337 / PAGE 56 PAGE 56 (FIRST PORTION) Lord. Saviour if thou hadst been here our brother had not died (170)
E 360 / PAGE [95] (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 87 [95] (SECOND PORTION) For far & wide she stretchd this all the world of Urizens journey (201)5
E 362 / PAGE 90 [98] PAGE 90 [98] (FIRST PORTION) And must not I obey the God thou Shadow of Jealousy (204)
E 363 / PAGE 91 (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 91 (SECOND PORTION) Vala / Night the Seventh (205)6
E 367 / PAGE 95 [87] (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 85 (SECOND PORTION) Astonishd filld with tears the Spirit of Enitharmon beheld (199)7
E 368 / PAGE 87 PAGE 95 [87]8 But Enitharmon trembling fled & hid beneath Urizens tree (209)
E 371 / PAGE 90 [98] PAGE 90 [98] (SECOND PORTION) And must not I obey the God thou Shadow of Jealousy (204)9
E 376 / PAGE 113 (FIRST PORTION) PAGE 105 [113] (FIRST PORTION) We behold with wonder Enitharmons Looms & Los’s Forges (219)
E 381 / PAGE 106 (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 110 [106] (SECOND PORTION) Thus was the Lamb of God condemnd to Death (224)10
E 386 / PAGE 110 (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 114 [110] (SECOND PORTION) The Lamb of God has rent the Veil of Mystery soon to return (228)11

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12. See n. 8 above. 13. The reverse of this page, 106 [114], is an engraving of Christ splitting the clouds and, therefore, has no text (Magno and Erdman 220). 14. Note, an error in page number.

Table 2. The Page Numbers of Erdman’s Textual Notes
Page Number from Erdman 1988 Page of FZ as Listed Correction
E 827 PAGE 21 PAGE 19 [21]
PAGE 22 PAGE 20 [22]
PAGE 19 PAGE 21 [19]
PAGE 20 PAGE 22 [20]
E 837 PAGE 95 (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 87 [95] (SECOND PORTION)
E 838 PAGE 96 PAGE 88 [96]
PAGE 97 PAGE 89 [97]
PAGE 98 PAGE 90 [98]
PAGE 95 (FIRST PORTION) PAGE 87 [95] (FIRST PORTION)
E 839 PAGE 87 PAGE 95 [87]
PAGE 90 PAGE 98 [90]12
E 841 PAGE 113 (FIRST PORTION) PAGE 105 [113] (FIRST PORTION)
E 842 PAGE 105 PAGE 109 [105]
PAGE 106 (FIRST PORTION) PAGE 110 [106] (FIRST PORTION)
PAGE 113 (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 105 [113] (SECOND PORTION)
PAGE 115 PAGE 107 [115]13
E 843 PAGE 116 PAGE 108 [116]
PAGE 106 (SECOND PORTION) PAGE 110 [106] (SECOND PORTION)
PAGE 107 PAGE 111 [107]
PAGE 108 PAGE 112 [108]
PAGE 110 PAGE 114 [110] (FIRST PORTION)
PAGE 111 PAGE 115 [111]
PAGE 113 PAGE 114 [110] (SECOND PORTION)14

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Table 3. The Arrangement of Night VII
VIIa1 VIIa2 VIIb
Original Page Numbers: 77-85:22 85:23-90 91-98
Erdman’s Page Numbers: 77-85:22 85:23-86, 95 [87], 96 [88], 97 [89], 98 [90] 91-94, 87 [95], 88 [96], 89 [97], 90 [98]
Arrangement Original Numbers: 77-85:22 (VIIa1); 95:15-98:31 (VIIb2); 91-95:14 (VIIb1); 85:23-90 (VIIa2); 98:32
Arrangement Erdman’s Numbers: 77-85:22 (VIIa1); 87:15-90:31 (VIIb2); 91-94, 87:14 (VIIb1); 85:23-86, 95-98 (VIIa2); 90:32

Table 4. First and Second Portions
E 360 / PAGE 85 (FIRST PORTION) E 367 / PAGE 85 (SECOND PORTION)
E 360 / PAGE 87 [95] (SECOND PORTION) E 367 / PAGE 87 [95] (FIRST PORTION)
E 362 / PAGE 90 [98] (FIRST PORTION) E 371 / PAGE 90 [98] (SECOND PORTION)
E 372 / PAGE 100 (FIRST PORTION) E 373 / PAGE 100 (SECOND PORTION)
E 373 / PAGE 101 (FIRST PORTION) E 374 / PAGE 101 (SECOND PORTION)
E 376 / PAGE 104 (FIRST PORTION) E 377 / PAGE 104 (SECOND PORTION)
E 376 / PAGE 105 [113] (FIRST PORTION) E 379 / PAGE 105 [113] (SECOND PORTION)
E 379 / PAGE 110 [106] (FIRST PORTION) E 381 / PAGE 110 [106] (SECOND PORTION)
E 385 / PAGE 114 [110] (FIRST PORTION) E 386 / PAGE 114 [110] (SECOND PORTION)

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