About this edition


About this edition

This edition presents a rare surviving example of the kind of multimedia production that arose from one of the new cultural activities of the late eighteenth century—the picturesque and antiquarian tour. It comprises a facsimile of the manuscript sketch- and scrap-book that Robert Bloomfield made after his 1807 tour of the Wye, an annotated transcription of the prose tour-journal that he incorporated into his scrap book, and a collated and annotated text of the poetic versions of the tour that were published (as The Banks of Wye) in 1811, 1813, and 1823. Also included are reproductions of the engravings that illustrated the 1811 and 1813 publications, deleted or unadopted passages from the manuscript of the poem, and a selection of reviews from journals of the time. The whole represents a visually and verbally rich response to the fashionable tour of the Wye. Bloomfield’s manuscript sketch- and scrap-book is an example of the newly popular fashion for on-the-spot sketching. Full of self-penned images of views and ruins, it is a fine example of the visual culture that the English gentry began to produce and to value, a homemade book to pass around in drawing rooms before turning either to the latest set of engravings published by Mr Turner or to the poetic tour — The Banks of Wye — that Bloomfield himself issued in print. Bloomfield, indeed, hoped to issue not just the poetic tour but also the ‘whole triple-page’d Journal, Drawings, prose, and rhime’. Cost prohibited such a publication at the time: only now, with this composite edition of poem, prose, scrap- and sketch-book, can we see the multimedia response to the Wye that was then accessible only to the intimate friends among whom the manuscript circulated.


In preparing this edition I have followed the format of the edition of Bloomfield’s letters that I produced for Romantic Circles in collaboration with Lynda Pratt. The texts of the poem and the prose journal are fully annotated, with hyperlinks taking readers to documents identifying the people and the places mentioned therein. Facsimile reproductions of the pages of the manuscript journal are accessible both via hyperlinks from the transcription of the journal and from the List of Figures to be found in the Contextual Materials section of the site. A Bibliography, a List of Manuscripts, and a document containing unpublished drafts of the poem, transcribed from manuscript, are also to be found in the Contextual Materials section. A selection of contemporary reviews is also included there.

Bloomfield 's original spelling, and mis-spelling, grammar and punctuation has been retained. Deletions are indicated by striking through the deleted word or phrase, but without any attempt to indicate the heaviness of the deletion. Throughout the text, 'x' is used to indicate an illegible character: e.g. 'he xxid'. Underlining is indicated by italics: e.g. 'he said'. Editorial <...> are used to indicate an authorial insertion of text above or below the line.


Tim Fulford is a Professor of English at De Montfort University. He has published several monographs and articles in which Bloomfield features, including Literature, Science and Exploration in the Romantic Era: Bodies of Knowledge (2004). He edited Thalaba the Destroyer, vol. 3 of Robert Southey: Poetical Works, 1793-1810 (2004) and is co-general editor, with Lynda Pratt, of the forthcoming Robert Southey: Later Poetical Works, 1811-1838. Pratt and Fulford's edition The Collected Letters of Robert Southey is also online at Romantic Circles.

Credits, Awards and Copyright

For their invaluable assistance, I thank Kerri Andrews, Frances Banks, Carol Bolton, Averill Buchanan, Tim Burke, Julia S. Carlson, Neil Chambers, Rachel Crawford , Neil Fraistat, John Goodridge, Bruce Graver, Dafydd Johnston, Steve Jones, Suzanne Matheson, Tilar J. Mazzeo, Ian Packer, Lynda Pratt, Tami Spector, Sam Ward, Simon White, Hugh and Angela Underhill, Jason Whitaker. For permission to reproduce the MSS in its possession, I thank the British Library: the images remain copyright The British Library Board: ADD 28267 f1-f59.

The Paul Mellon Centre for the Study of British Art and the Scouloudi Foundation kindly gave grants in support of illustrations costs.


The editor welcomes comments and corrections. Please contact:

Tim Fulford: timfulford@tiscali.co.uk

About the Design

This electronic edition was TEI-encoded by Jason Whitaker in liaison with Laura Mandell and her team at Miami University of Ohio, and with the assistance of David Rettenmaier at the University of Maryland. The image associated with this edition was designed by Michael Quilligan at the University of Maryland, and includes elements from illustrations from this volume. Mandell transformed the TEI files into HTML by using modified versions of the transforms provided by the TEI. The HTML pages do not use frames but rather make extensive use of tables and stylesheets for layout and presentation. The site works best when viewed with browsers later than Mozilla Firefox v. 3, Netscape 4.0, Internet Explorer 4.0, or comparable browsers; earlier browsers may not display everything properly.