By Andrew R. Murphy

A Concise spouse to Shakespeare and the textual content introduces the early variations, enhancing practices, and publishing heritage of Shakespeare’s performs and poems, and examines their effect on bibliographic reports as an entire.

  • The first single-volume booklet to supply an obtainable and authoritative creation to Shakespearean bibliographic stories
  • Includes a worthy creation, notes on Shakespeare’s texts, and an invaluable bibliography
  • Contributors signify either top and rising students within the box
  • Represents an unheard of source for either scholars and college

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Sample text

In 1559, members received the right to wear their own distinctive livery. The Stationers’ Company was no new invention, but the institutional recognition of a network of trades and an artisanal heritage with a long history. Nor did the creation of the Company herald any immediate revolution in the trade. Instead it marked the drive to order and regularize a number of well-established practices, many of which predated the advent of print. By the time that Shakespeare was writing, some three decades after the incorporation of the Stationers’ Company, the London publishing trade was well established.

The most striking difference between the three texts is between the First Quarto and the other two texts, since it is little more than half their length. In other words, a lot of the First Quarto in this edition is blank space. Few people apart from scholars read the First Quarto today. So why publish it? The first reason is historical. When modern editors publish a “best” text, whether supposedly corresponding to what Shakespeare first wrote or to the theatrical version that was first staged, they are creating something that had no previous existence.

Publishers could, however, provide both economic and intellectual support beyond a simple one-off payment. While few English stationers had the skills, the humanist learning, or the literate acquaintance of the continental master printers, their shops and offices were nonetheless depositories of learning, and often better stocked than an author’s private library. In the course of a 1616 dispute over his proprietary rights in the Protestant divine William Fulke’s Confutation of the Rhemish Testament (first edition 1589), the stationer John Bill recounted the history of the text’s production: Doctor Fulke being not sufficiently stored with bookes to performe it cam[e] to London to master Bishop a stationer where he and two of his men with their horses were mayntained by Bishop for 3.

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