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To the Editors
Since the publication of the Blake Trust/Tate Gallery edition of Songs of Innocence and of Experience, my attention has been drawn to a sentence in the introduction that needs to be corrected. I’d be grateful for the chance to set the record straight in the pages of Blake.
The sentence appears on page 14. It reads:
Early in his professional career he [Blake] was commissioned to engrave designs for The Speaker (c1780), an anthology designed to ‘facilitate the improvement of Youth in reading and Writing’, and for Mrs Barbauld’s Hymns in Prose for Children (1781).As it stands this sentence might imply a commission for more than one illustration in each volume. I’d like to make it clear that I know of no evidence that Blake was ever commissioned to engrave plates for the Barbauld book, or that he was ever commissioned to engrave more than one plate for The Speaker. (I can only account for this error by assuming that Hymns in Prose traveled from my list of books Blake seems to have read to my list of books for which he produced illustrations. Unfortunately I didn’t pick this up in the proof-reading state—or notice that the quotation from The Speaker was transcribed incorrectly.) The sentence should read as follows:
Early in his professional career he was commissioned to engrave a design for The Speaker (c1780), an anthology designed to ‘facilitate the Improvement of Youth in Reading and Speaking.’I’d also like to take this opportunity to apologize to Mark Bracher, whose name was twice mangled in the edition.
I’m grateful to G. E. Bentley, Jr., Robert Essick and David Fuller for pointing out these errors to me.
English Department Queen Mary and Westfield Collge
University of London