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Printers' and publishers' addresses in English dramatic texts, 1558-1642.

Standing among a proliferation of London book shops, English readers in the early seventeenth century would have regularly encountered prefatory material of varying extent in texts. "Hundreds of prefaces," Wendy Wall writes, "were designed to perform the arduous task of explaining and justifying printed texts"(173). Dramatic texts also contain such prefatory apparatus as they seek increasingly to resemble other kinds of books. I will focus here on the addresses to readers written by printers and publishers in the period 1558-1642, and I will also include the handful of epistles dedicatory. Although scholars have paid limited attention to prefatory material written by the playwrights, little has been written about printers and publishers as writers of prefaces. I will argue that these people, the ones most intimately involved in production, extended the life and expanded the circulation of play texts not only through the printing but also by addressing readers.

Such prefatory material exists as a textual event, known only to readers. These paratexts, to borrow Gerard Genette's term, provide a point of hospitable entry into the dramatic text, forming a zone not only of transition but also of transaction and allowing us to hear the writers voice directly in the first person. Printers and publishers can thus serve as gatekeepers to the text, protecting and directing an approach to the text. They produce a material object, what several of the printers in these paratexts refer to as "commodity." This word cuts in at least two directions. First, the term refers to commercial activity and the product that will be for sale. But, second, "commodity" can mean the "benefit" that one derives from the text, as when the printer Richard Jones in the Kenilworth edition refers to "thy pleasure and commodide" (Greg 3: 1196). Commodity thus aptly captures the twin purposes of book production: commerce and art. Printers and publishers make clear such purposes in their addresses in dramatic texts.

These addresses differ from those of playwrights primarily by emphasizing the text as a physical object and the processes that have led to publication, including collecting, editing, preserving, and rescuing forgotten texts. The printers' paratexts provide information about negotiations with the author, underscore an editorial function, offer guidance for the text, exhibit aesthetic judgment, make links to performance of the plays, and even on occasion provide literary criticism. The editorial function may include the larger agenda of rescuing plays from oblivion decades after they were written. Therefore, the image of a silent printer, proverbially drunk, dutifully going about his somewhat uninspiring duties needs displacing by a picture of printers and publishers not only actively involved in the production of texts but also regularly participating in the presentation and interpretation of texts--another sign of the collaborative enterprise that printed dramatic texts became. (1) In constructing commodity, printers did not rest with the approbation that plays may have received in performance.

Douglas Bruster, who emphasizes theaters commercial nature, refers

   to the beginnings (i.e. prologues, inductions, and preface
   epistles) and endings (epilogues) of plays [as] forming the
   traditional loci in which to stress their commodity functions as
   well as the contractual relationship between authors, players, and
   audience. (8)


True, but this fails to distinguish between the "beginnings" spoken on the stage and the other forms that exist only in print for readers, who should be included in Bruster's concept of "audience." Kathleen McLuskie and Felicity Dunsworth have argued:

   By the turn of the seventeenth century, playwrights seemed to
   accept that their patrons were the paying audience in the theater
   and replaced the rhetoric of morality with one that ... assumed a
   freedom of consumer choice. (426)


This statement, too, overlooks a reading audience who supported drama through purchase, even if the playwright may have received no immediate financial return. Therefore, our understanding of systems of patronage in this era must include purchasers and readers of books, an important extension of the theater audience. I want to add to the mix of theater's commercial enterprise the active involvement of printers and publishers who by their addresses to readers and dedicatory epistles open new perspectives on play texts.

In all the stir of commerce and marketplace exchange, emphasized in the work of Bruster, McLuskie, Loewenstein, and others, we cannot afford to lose sight of two fundamental questions that remain: how we get the printed text and what to make of it. Printers and publishers help answer these questions in their addresses to readers. If we track the movement from playwright to reader, it might go something like this: writer [right arrow] scribe [right arrow] theater company [right arrow] performance [right arrow] printer [right arrow] publisher [right arrow] bookseller [right arrow] purchaser of text [right arrow] reader. Not every dramatic text went through these same procedures, of course; some phases might drop out and others be added. In any event, several steps intervene between writer and reader of the text. The printer occupies a crucial position as the last person who can add material to the printed text. And if, as was often the case, the playwright has no direct involvement in the printing of his text, the printer and others who contributed prefatory material assume even greater prominence.

In the several dozen dramatic texts (roughly ninety in number) in the period that include addresses to readers, only a small portion (about twenty-five percent) contain such prefatory material written by printers and publishers. This relatively small number calls attention to itself, requiring us to pay attention to these prefatory matters. I ask several basic questions: why should printers or publishers care to address readers? Why did they dedicate some of their texts to presumed patrons? What did they hope to accomplish? What does this add to our storehouse of knowledge and insight about such texts? In what follows I offer some answers.

I start with a text just slightly outside the historical limits of this investigation: the Beaumont and Fletcher Folio of 1647, which includes "The Stationer to the Readers" by Humphrey Moseley, one of the two publishers of this volume. This address underscores the purposes of publishers in their comments to readers and offers a retrospective of the addresses that precede this one. Jeffrey Masten observes:

   The volumes preliminary materials are not simply factual documents
   of Beaumont and Fletchers associations (as scholars on either side
   of the critical binary have treated them), but, rather, texts
   registering and re/forming the contingencies of politics,
   preferment, patronage, publishing, authorship, etc. (147) (2)


Although other collections of drama appeared, the Beaumont and Fletcher Folio completes the trio of important drama folios in the early seventeenth century, including the 1616 Jonson Folio and the 1623 Shakespeare Folio, each different in its concept of contents and each different in the presentation of the volume to readers. We recall the dedication by John Heminge and Henry Condell of the Shakespeare Folio to William and Philip Herbert and their "Address to the Great Variety of Readers." The Beaumont and Fletcher volume includes also a dedication to Philip Herbert, signed by ten members of the King's Men. As we move from 1616 to 1623 to 1647, the earliest volumes reflect intimate connection of the playwright with publication, then actors who arrange for publication, then publishers/stationers who collect texts and arrange for their publication. The last two coincidentally move farther away from the authors, who are already dead. One might choose to see this as a kind of paradigm of the publication process.

The Beaumont and Fletcher Folio differs in several ways from its predecessors. First, it presents the work of two playwrights, even as it comes about because of the efforts of two publishers, Moseley and Humphrey Robinson. These Stationers arranged for five different printers to produce the volume, "to avoid delay in getting the Folio on the market," so Robert Turner argues (1: xxxii). (3) Moseley had spent several years in negotiation with the King's Men to secure rights to the plays and even to secure reliable texts. Also, this volume does not purport to provide the "collected" works of the dramatists; indeed, Moseley says that he has excluded all texts previously published. As scholars have long since noted, the publishers made no distinctions about authorship between Beaumont and Fletcher nor did they acknowledge the presence of other dramatists in these texts. Like the Shakespeare Folio with its portrait of the dramatist, this one intends to offer illustrations of both dramatists but succeeds by producing only a portrait of Fletcher, which rather skews the volume in Fletcher's favor. (4) Thus, the collaborative publishers have produced the collaborative texts but lapse, by default, into perpetuating the image of the solitary author. Similarly, the two stationers provide only the solitary voice of Moseley in the address to readers.

I examine one part of the preliminary material, Moseleys address to the readers, which itself opens many of the issues outlined by Masten. The Stationers main point focuses on how he received the texts and how he presents them. He insists that this is "a New Booke-, I can speake it clearely. I had the Originalls from such as received them from the Authours themselves; by Those, and none other, I publish this Edition," Moseley writes (Greg 3: 1233). One wonders how Moseley may have secured these texts without any immediate, direct link to the authors, who had been dead for thirty years (Beaumont) and twenty years (Fletcher). He probably means actors, that is, members of the King's Men. In any event, he establishes the authority of the collection, which, given the stated limits, lacks only one play, according to Moseley: The Wild. Goose Chase. Despite Moseley's efforts, his own wild goose chase, he has not turned up this text, presumably borrowed from the actors and "(by the negligence of a Servant) it was never return'd. This Volume," Moseley adds, "being now so compleate and finish'd, that the Reader must expect no future Alterations" (Greg 3: 1233). The stationer's imagined fixed text does not ultimately prevail, as we know. Even The Wild Goose Chase eventually showed up.

Moseley offers two reasons why the collection does not contain all of the plays: gender and economics. To have included everything "would have rendred the Booke so Voluminous, that Ladies and Gentlewomen would have found it scarce manageable, who in Workes of this nature must first be remembred" (Greg 3: 1233). This disingenuous statement ignores the address's opening salutation: "Gentlemen." "Besides," he writes, "I considered those former Pieces had been so long printed and re-printed, that many Gentlemen were already furnished; and I would have none say, they pay twice for the same Booke" (Greg 3: 1233). So long as the Folio offers new material, it retains the chance for economic gain. Its format renders it manageable for ladies and economical for men.

Not only new works but complete plays, so Moseley argues. Here he refers to the stage versions which sometimes "omitted some Scenes and Passages (with the Authours consent) as occasion led them" (Greg 3: 1233). The Stationer opens to consideration the regular discrepancy between the text as acted and text as printed. "But now you have both All that was Acted, and all that was not; even the perfect full Originalls without the least mutilation" (Greg 3: 1233): this assertion underscores the editorial practice of printers and publishers in restoring the text. For the "literall Errours" that may remain in the texts we can look to the printer for whose pardon Moseley asks. He also briefly describes his efforts in rounding up these texts, and "though another joyn'd with me in the Purchase and Printing, yet the Care & Pains was wholly mine," more extensive than we might imagine (Greg 3: 1233). Although Moseley cannot deny the assistance of Robinson, he can downplay it, as he does. This strikes a perverse blow against the idea of collaboration. Moseley has engaged in a solitary, difficult effort, which not even the current "Publike Troubles" (presumably the Civil War) have deterred (Greg 3: 1234).

The rest of Moseleys address mainly provides information about the playwrights, "the most unquestionable Wits this Kingdome hath afforded" (Greg 3: 1234). He offers an explanation for why he has brought these two writers together:

It was once in my thoughts to have Printed Mr. Fletcher's workes by themselves, because single & alone he would make a Just Volume-. But since never parted while they lived, I conceived it not equitable to seperate [sic] their ashes. (Greg 3: 1234)

The authors, who allegedly shared the same bed and a woman between them, now reside together in this Folio. They possessed "High unexpressible gifts of Nature]" but also "acquired Parts]' learned at the university (Greg 3: 1234). Echoing the perspective of Heminge and Condell about Shakespeare's art, Moseley concludes about Fletcher: "What ever I have seene of Mr. Fletchers owne hand, is free from interlining; and his friends affirme he never writ any one thing twice" (Greg 3: 1234). He wrote perfectly from the beginning. Moseley offers no such romantic image of Beaumont. Paradoxically, even as Moseley keeps trying to bring the playwrights together, he keeps separating them. He has through the efforts of this address to readers performed valuable, if sometimes questionable, functions of preparing readers for the text, providing information about the authors and about their texts, underscoring the economic benefit of this Folio, vouching for the reliability, completeness, and authority of the texts, and not incidentally touting his own virtues for undertaking this risky and expensive venture.

Many printers and publishers before Moseley made similar claims. Indeed, in George Gascoigne's A Hundreth Sundrie Flowres, arguably the earliest collection of plays (1573), the printer Richard Smith addresses readers and provides a brief discussion of how he came to print this collection of plays and poems. He documents a struggle between two other people over printing the book: "Now I feare very muche ... that these two gentlemen were of one assent compact to have it imprinted" (Gascoigne A2). But "they have therefore (each of them) politiquely prevented the daunger of misreport, and suffered me the poore Printer to runne away with the palme of so perilous a victorie" (Gascoigne A2). Having studied this collection, Smith could find "nothing therein amisse ... unlesse it be two or three wanton places passed over in the discourse of an amorous enterprise"; and he reminds us that the "discrete reader may take a happie example by the most lascivious histories" (Gascoigne A2V). Or, as he adds: "the well minded man may reape some commoditie out of the most frivolous works that are written" (Gascoigne A2V; emphasis added). Clearly Smith intends to frame the approach to Gascoigne's texts. He adds:

he which wold have good morall lessons clerkly handled, let him smell to the Tragedie translated out of Euripides [Gascoignes Jocasta]. He that wold laugh at a prety conceit closely conveyed, let him peruse the comedie translated out of Ariosto [Supposes], (Gascoigne A2V)

Plays, love poems, hymns, Psalms all make the collection "universall," according to Smith, where "any mans mind may therewith be satisfied" (Gascoigne A3). Having struggled to publish this collection, the printer wants to justify the effort, in part on moral grounds. Smith will not be the last printer to confront such issues.

I focus now on the ways that these writers, addressing readers, connect the text to performance. For example, John Charlewood, printer of Lyly's Endymion (1591), calls attention to current theater circumstances when he writes to the reader:

Since the Plaies in Paules were dissolved, there are certaine Commedies come to my handes by chaunce, which were presented before her Majestie at severall times by the children of Paules. (Greg 3: 1197) (5)

The dissolution of Paul's Boys has provided this opportunity to publish; if this venture proves successful, Charlewood writes, "I will then goe forwarde to publish the rest" (Greg 3: 1197). In this rare instance, printing takes up slack left by a disruption in theatrical performances.

Although the title page of The Noble Souldier. Or, A Contract Broken, Justly Revenged (1634) contains the initials "S. R." for the playwright and many assumed this to mean Samuel Rowley, more recent scholars have attributed the work to Thomas Dekker. (6) The publisher and bookseller, Nicholas Vavasour, writes an address to the reader in which he views publication of drama as an

extension of the performance. The poet, Vavasour argues, might conceive a compleat satisfaction upon the Stages approbation: But the Printer rests not there, knowing that that which was acted and approved upon the Stage, might bee no lesse acceptable in Print. (S. R. A3)

The printer thus serves not only a commercial function but also an aesthetic one. The text "is now communicated to you whose leisure and knowledge admits of reading and reason" (S. R. A3). Vavasour underscores a likely difference in the reaction and judgment of spectators at performance and leisurely readers who have time to contemplate the text. Certainly by the mid-1630s most printers and publishers understood the market for play texts and sought to capitalize on it. But few printers explicitly state their function in relation to expanding the audience beyond those who enjoyed the play in performance.

In a different vein, Richard Jones, the printer for The Princely Pleasures at Kenilworth (1576), sees the printing of this text as a direct response to word of performance. Because this performance of the progress pageant at the Earl of Leicester's Kenilworth Castle could have been experienced by relatively few people, and certainly few from London, Jones seeks to meet a demand for a text. He writes:

All which have been sundrie tymes demaunded for, aswell at my handes, as also of other Printers, for that in deede, all studious and well disposed yong Gentlemen and others, were desyrous to be partakers of those pleasures by a profitable publication. (Greg 3: 1195)

"I have," Jones insists, "with much travayle and paine obtained the very true and perfect Copies, of all that were there presented & executed" (Greg 3: 1195-96). The publication becomes doubly "profitable": first, for the printer as a commercial undertaking, and second, for readers, now able to enjoy that which they could not witness. Perhaps this idea informs Jones's statement: "And these (being thus collected,) I have (for thy commoditie gentle Reader) now published" (Greg 3: 1196)--the text as "commodity" in the marketplace, available for purchase. Jones offers another market angle: he responds in part to another text of the Kenilworth entertainment, a text that he finds incomplete, "which Report made verye many the more desirous to have this perfect Copy" (Greg 3: 1196). Jones's text will presumably satiate the desire to have a record of the Kenilworth pageant and thus vicariously to participate in it. Jones concludes with an advertising blurb: "I leave thee to the reading of the same, & promise to be styl occupied in publishing such workes as may be both for thy pleasure and commoditie" (Greg 3: 1196). He pursues this intention with the publication of Tamburlaine (1590), both parts. He notes the success of performances of the plays in his address to "Gentlemen Readers: and others that take pleasure in reading Histories." "My hope is," Jones writes,

that they wil be now no lesse acceptable unto you to read after your serious affaires and studies, then they have bene (lately) delightfull for many of you to see, when the same were shewed in London upon stages. (Greg 3: 1196)

He leaves the texts to the "most curteous and favorable protection" of readers and promises, much as he had in 1576, to continue his efforts "to the advancing and pleasuring of your excellent degree" (Greg 3: 1196). That is, Jones intends to continue to print commodities for desiring and desirable readers.

Bernard Alsop, printer for John Cooke's Two Merry Milk-Maids (1620), shifts the discussion to another angle of performance and publication. He asserts: "Every Writer must governe his Penne according to the Capacitie of the Stage he writes too, both in the Actor and the Auditor" (Greg 3: 1218). Perhaps this seemingly aesthetic principle leads Alsop to downplay the significance of this drama, which "had the happinesse to please, as it was meant, the greater part, and of them not the worst" (Greg 3: 1218). This play, Alsop insists, "was made more for the Eye, then the Eare; lesse for the Hand, then eyther" (Greg 3: 1218). Readers should receive the text "well, and though in this he [Cooke] give you no ill, yet hereafter he hath promis'd you better Language" (Greg 3: 1218). The playwright, Alsop suggests, will in the future provide a better commodity. The current one apparently suited the capacity of the actors and the audience when performed. The printer candidly admits the limitations of this play.

The address to the reader in Jasper Mayne's The City Match (1639) acknowledges another kind of nervousness in performance. Since the text does not identify the writer of the address and since it refers to the playwright in the third person, I will assume that the printer Leonard Lichfield may well have been the author of the address. The writer insists that the playwright regarded the play as insignificant, "As it was meerly out of Obedience that he first wrote it" (Mayne A2). Indeed, had the play not been commanded from Mayne, "it had died upon the place, where it took life" (Mayne A2). Lichfield adds:

Himselfe being so averse from raysing fame from the stage, that at the presentment, he was one of the severest spectators there; nor ever show'd other signe whereby it might be knowne to be his, but his liberty to despise it. (Mayne A2)

This presents an amusing image of the playwright, concealing his identity so that he might rail against his own play in its performance. So, why should the text come to print? Lichfield answers:

For understanding that some at London, without his Approbation or allowance, were ready to print a false, imperfect Coppy, he was loth to be libell'd by his owne worke. (Mayne A2)

He therefore allowed this publication. Not only do printers regularly comment on performance or offer some frame of reference based on performance, but also they assume an editorial function, ranging from simply making plays available to active involvement in determining the authenticity of the text.

Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida (1609) presents an address to readers (Figs. 1 and 2), presumably written by one of the two publishers, Henry Walley or Richard Bonian. This epistle exists in the second state of the quarto text, along with a new title page that removes reference to performance of the play at the Globe by the King's Men. (7) One could call this address, "A Never Writer to an Ever Reader," an anti-theatrical statement. It begins bluntly: "Eternal reader, you have here a new play, never staled with the stage, never clapper-clawed with the palms of the vulgar" (Shakespeare 120). The publisher also focuses on the matter of terms used to characterize drama:

were but the vain names of comedies changed for the titles of commodities, or of plays for pleas, you should see all those grand censors, that now style them such vanities, flock to them for the main grace of their gravities. (Shakespeare 120)

This address offers a defense of "this author's comedies," underscoring their "wit," which can be savored (Shakespeare 120). Warming to this topic, the publisher nevertheless halts: "Amongst all there is none more witty than this; and had I time I would comment upon it, though I know it needs not" (Shakespeare 121). The publisher poses as literary critic whose subject needs no defense. And he completes the movement from performance to publication by insisting: "And believe this, that when he is gone and his comedies out of sale, you will scramble for them and set up a new English Inquisition" (Shakespeare 121). This text of Troilus, not "sullied with the smoky breath of the multitude" (Shakespeare 121), has escaped to the safe realm of readers. Richard Dutton rightly observes: "Surely the point of the epistle is that it is announcing a reading version of the play, new to a print readership and superior to what had doubtless been performed in a cut text by the King's Men at the Globe" (167). Instead of responding as other printers and publishers have done by seeing the text as ancillary to performance, here in Troilus the publisher offers an image of a meta-text, beyond the demeaning qualities of the theater. Perhaps this view constitutes the "news" that the address presents.

The printer often steps into the gap, left by a reluctant or absent author or by an earlier, imperfect text. John Day, printer of Gorboduc (c. 1570), says in an address to readers that the authors, Norton and Sackville, never intended to publish the play:

Yet one W. G. [William Griffith] getting a copie therof at some yongmans hand that lacked a litle money and much discretion, ... about v. yeares past, while the said Lord was out of England, and T. Norton farre out of London, ... put it forth excedingly corrupted. (Greg 3: 1193)

The play has arrived to the printer in a revised form, and Day eagerly prints this new text, one designed to drive the corrupt one out of existence. Similarly, a few years later Richard Jones printed George Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra (1578), revealing to readers his active involvement in readying this play for the press. Jones says that this work

came into my handes, in his [Whetstone's] fyrst coppy, whose leasure was so lyttle (being then readie to depart his country) that he had no time to worke it a new, nor to geue apt instructions, to prynte so difficult a worke, beyng full of variety, both matter, speache, and verse. (Greg 3: 1195)

Jones has taken Whetstones foul papers ("fyrst coppy") and shaped them into the text now printed. "If I commit an error," he says, "without blaming the Auctor, amend my amisse" (Greg 3: 1195). He urges readers not to be deterred by seeming dark passages, for in many places "readinge wil seeme hard" (Greg 3: 1195). If the reader responds generously to the text, "I hould my paynes wel satisfyed, and Maister Whetston uninjured" (Greg 3: 1195). Jones closes with a by now familiar refrain: "I wil not faile to procure such bookes, as may profit thee with delight" (Greg 3: 1195). Curiously, even though Jones has to step in to assume editorial duties because the playwright is leaving the country, the same playwright manages to produce a lengthy Epistle Dedicatory, addressed to his kinsman, William Fleetwoode.

Jones, a busy printer, developed a habit of writing addresses to readers in non-dramatic texts as well. In these (roughly a dozen) he explores some of the same issues that interest him in the play texts. He exhibits a self-consciousness about being a printer who has responsibility for a text, and he presumably wants readers to know about his experience. For example, in the address to Breton's Arbor of Amorous Devices (1597) Jones writes as "your old Printer [who forgets] not his best friendes" (3). He reveals that this volume might have been different "had not the Phenix prevented me of some the best stuffe she furnisht her nest with of late: this Arbor had bin somewhat the more handsomer trimmed up" (Breton, Arbor 3). Publication of The Phoenix Nest (1593) has robbed Jones of material, thereby depriving his gentlemen readers of potential "recreation" (Breton, Arbor 3). Rather like the case of the absent Whetstone, Breton was not available when Jones put together Brittons Bowre of Delights (1597). With that in mind Jones assures readers of the value of this collection; and he explains his purpose as printer: "chieflie to pleasure you, and partlie to profit my selfe, if they proove to your good liking" (Breton, Bowre NT). If not, then "all my cost is cast away" (Breton, Bowre NT). Jones asks readers who find errors in the text to blame him, not the author. He admits that he procured Phillis and Flora (1598) for publication and explains his habit of addressing readers:

according to my accustomed maner, which is, to acquaint you with any Booke, or matter I print, that beareth some likelihood to be of worth, or might seeme pleasing or acceptable in your favourable censures. (Phillis n.p.)

Ever concerned about his success as a printer, Jones in both Isabella Whitneys The Copy of a Letter (1567) and Clement Robinson's A Handefull of Pleasant Delites (1584) addresses readers in witty verse, urging us to buy the book.

Jones did not resist an editorial function in Marlowe's Tamburlaine-, and he makes clear what he has done with the text:

I have (purposely) omitted and left out some fond and frivolous Jestures, digressing (and in my poore opinion) far unmeet for the matter, which I thought, might seeme more tedious unto the wise. (Greg 3: 1196)

These frivolous matters the "fondlings greatly gaped at, what times they were shewed upon the stage in their graced deformities" (Greg 3: 1196). But to inelude such material in the printed text, Jones argues, would "proove a great disgrace to so honorable & stately a historic" (Greg 3: 1196). To have such material "mixtured in print" (Greg 3: 1196) would drive down the value of the text. This printer works on aesthetic principles and with some understanding of what constitutes the proper retelling of history. Jones wants his history straight, not adulterated. As printer-editor he exercises a prerogative to accomplish his aims. As readers of Marlowe's text, we wonder what might have been included in stage performance that Jones deemed unworthy.

The publisher for Q2 of Beaumont and Fletchers Philaster (1622), Thomas Walkley, tries to rescue the corrupt text, first printed in 1620 by Nicholas Okes, who also printed Q2. Walkley writes to the reader:

Philaster, and Arethusa his love, have laine so long a bleeding, by reason of some dangerous and gaping wounds, which they received in the first Impression, that it is wondered how they could goe abroad so long, or travaile so farre as they have done. (Beaumont and Fletcher, Philaster 1: 375)

Walkley disclaims responsibilities for the state of the text, and he excuses the printer as well: "Although they were hurt neither by me, nor the Printer; yet I... have adventured to bind up their wounds, & to enable them to visite upon better tearmes" (1: 375). Readers will now find the text suitable, "being reformed" (1: 375). As Turner rightly observes, Walkley gives no clue as to how Q1 became so corrupted, "maimed and deformed" (1: 375), nor does he explain precisely how Q2 came about, what text lay behind its printing. But he does make a resounding claim for his involvement in the correction of the text, the binding up of earlier wounds.

The printing of Q3 of Philaster (1628) led Richard Hawkins to embrace a larger concept of correction and collaboration. This play, Hawkins begins,

so affectionately taken, and approoved by the Seeing Auditours, or Hearing Spectators, (of which sort, I take, or conceive you to bee the greatest part) hath received (as appeares by the copious vent of two Editions,) no lesse acceptance with improovement of you likewise the Readers. (Beaumont and Fletcher, Philaster 1: 372)

The "first Impression swarm'd with Errors" (1: 372), Hawkins notes, nodding in Walkley's direction. But like a work of gold, this text has been refined through the agency of readers, actors, and printers. Indeed, Hawkins praises readers as "the skillfull Triers and Refiners" (1: 372). But the publisher acts the "Merchant-adventurers part, yet as well for their satisfaction, as mine owne benefit" (1: 372). In a direct echo of Walkley's address to the reader, Hawkins wishes that his hopes in this venture "shall never lye like this Love a Bleeding" (1: 372). The publisher makes important statements about mutual involvement of several groups in producing a text, especially the crucial role of readers. Although Turner reproduces the text of the Stationer's address, he buries it, as he had Walkley's, in the textual introduction to Philaster and does not even name Hawkins.

In 1595, Thomas Creede printed William Warners translation of Plautus's Menaecmi, and in his address to readers he refers to the reluctance of the translator to have his works published, having already distributed them "for the use and delight of his private friends" (Plautus A3). But "I have prevailed so far with him as to let this one go farther abroad, for a publike recreation and delight" (Plautus A3). Creede highlights the recurring tension, certainly in the sixteenth century, between private writing and public distribution, in a sense a manuscript versus a print culture. Creede found Warren "loath and unwilling to hazard this to the curious view of envious detraction" (Plautus A3), appropriately modest about his translation. But since the play "is onely a matter of meriment" (Plautus A3) and therefore of no great importance, "I have over-rulde him so farre, as to let this be offred to your curteous acceptance" (Plautus A3). If this translation receives approbation, perhaps the printer can prevail on the translator for more, "the rest better laboured, and more curiously pollished" (Plautus A3). The printer exercises his will over a reluctant translator and convinces him to allow the text a public life.

Francis Burton, the publisher of Sharpham's The Fleire (1607), encountered an absent author. Burton says simply that he has printed a "Booke heere to make you laugh and lie downe too, if you please" (Sharpham A3). And he offers a somewhat casual attitude about his editorial duties: "If you finde anie errors by me committed correct them or neglect them" (Sharpham A3). The author "is invisible to me (viz: ith' Country) but whereabouts I cannot learne" (Sharpham A3). Despite the playwright's absence, Burton fears his return, for Sharpham had given the printer "an Epistle or Apological preamble ... directed unto you, which should have bin in this Page divul'gd" (Sharpham A3). Burton admits bluntly: "I have lost it, remembring none of the Contentes" (Sharpham A3BA3V). So much for this printer as editor. One wonders, of course, if all of this may be a fiction to go along with the amusing play that follows, as Burton urges us to "use these Comicall discourses favourablie" (Sharpham A3V). The author absent and his epistle lost, Burton steps into the gap and prepares us for the text.

In the same year, Burton served as publisher of The Tragedy of Claudius Tiberius Nero (1607) and wrote a dedication to Sir Arthur Mannering (the variant state of the epistle has no signature). He begins by noting the rare occurrence of dedications of plays, "contrary to Custome in divulging other Bookes" (Greg 3: 1205). Thus Burton signals an awareness of the emerging tradition of dedicating texts; he intends that this dramatic text should resemble others. Although not identifying the author, an apparent orphan, Burton speaks glowingly of him as a young scholar who possesses fair and eloquent language:

It should seeme that he hath read much, for he is well seene in Antiquities, but most especially inward with Cornelius Tacitus, our best approved Historian. (Greg 3: 1205)

Burton closes by urging Mannering's protection: "your Worship (I thinke) may doe a deede of Charitie to be his Guardian" (Greg 3: 1205). Burton exercises his judgment to publish the text and to seek its patronage; he also reveals his assessment of the writers use of historical sources, especially Tacitus whom Burton greatly admires.

Some printers decided to address readers not in prose but in verse in dramatic texts. Matthew Rhodes in two different texts writes in rhyming couplets. In the text of Hero and Antipater (1622), Rhodes argues for the importance of this play in terms of its subject matter. Most readers look for light, ribald material: "For Tragedy or History, you shall / Never finde these at any Stationers Stall" (Markham and Sampson A4). Texts, like this one by Markham and Sampson,

   lie in darke Obscurity, and misse
   The Printers Presse, t'adome and set them forth
   In the true Glories of their Native Worth. (A4)


Rhodes has decided as printer to make this work available. Similarly, in Carlell s Deserving Favorite (1629) Rhodes exercises an active role, here a different kind of editorial one by bringing to print this work without the author's knowledge. Yet "this faire Courtly Piece / Was drawne to'th Presse" (Carlell A2V). Rhodes concludes: "Accept these Straines, as here you find 'em drest / By mee the Printer" (A2V). Richard Hawkins, stationer for A King and No King (1631), writes succinctly: "A Play and no Play, who this Booke shall read, / Will judge, and weepe, as if 'twere done indeed" (Beaumont and Fletcher title page). He wrote more expansively for The Maids Tragedie (1630), insisting that the dramatist wanted no prologue:

   But cease here (Censure) least the Buyer
   Hold thee in this a vaine Supplyer.
   My Office is to set it forth
   Where Fame applauds its reall worth.
      (Beaumont and Fletcher verso of title page)


These printers thus not only assist in bringing these plays to press; they edit and usher in the text with their own poetic verses--not only printers, but also writers.

Printers obviously developed a strong sense of what dramatic texts should contain, including certain kinds of prefatory material. As we saw above, Burton, having lost the playwrights episde, decided to supply one. Thomas Walkley as publisher of Othello Q1 also takes upon himself the task of an address to the reader. He writes:

To set forth a booke without an Epistle, were like to the old English proverbe, A blew coat without a badge, & the Author being dead, I thought good to take that piece of worke upon me. (Greg 3: 1218)

In this view the text would be incomplete without some kind of epistle, even if the publisher must be the author of it. Walkley also adds that he will not need to entreat readers to commend this text: "I am the bolder, because the Authors name is sufficient to vent his worke" (Greg 3: 1218). Even if this famous authors reputation suffices to carry this book, the publisher nevertheless bows to a tradition, which printers have helped establish, and writes to readers. Similarly, a few years earlier Thomas Creede, printer to Fletchers Cupid's Revenge (1615), refers to the tradition of writers' dedicating their plays to "worthy persons" (Fletcher 2: 334). But "not having any such Epistle from the Authour," Creede decides to "dedicate this Play to the Juditious in generall" (Fletcher 2: 334). Not knowing the author, the printer has assumed this role in his behalf. Printers and publishers therefore not only collect, perfect, edit, and print texts; they also seek to have these texts become books that resemble other kinds of books, with the desired prefatory apparatus.

John Marriot begins his address to readers in Robert GomersaH's Poems (1633) quite bluntly: "To praise the work, were to set my selfe to sale, since the greater its worth is, the more is my benefit, and not the Authors" (Gomersall A3). He writes of encouraging Gomersall to add materials to this collection, which includes the play Lodovick Sforza. Then he sets out to correct misapprehensions about the play:

One thing I must not forget to acquaint thee with; Some men, (that would be wise without booke,) have excepted against a passage in Sforza, concerning Galeazzoes revealing his wives counsells to his enemy, as a thing beyond Probability, or Poetry. (Gomersall A3V)

But, Marriot insists,

they are short of History for let them read almost the first leafe of Guicciardin, or the eighth book of Commines, they shall there find what they carpe at here. (Gomersall A3V)

The bookseller thus uses the address to correct misunderstandings that have occurred regarding the play. Several years earlier, in a lengthy and informative address to readers in George Withers Faire-Virtue (1622), Marriot had written engagingly of his dealings with Wither, including an extraordinary recording of the poet's comments (presumably direct quotation) to Marriot about his work. Trying to understand some difficult passages, Marriot asked Wither to explain them; but he refused, insisting that that would take away the employment of interpreters. Given this close involvement with a writer, Marriot understandably tries to sort out the criticism levelled at Sforza.

In dedicating the 1631 printing of Henry Chettle's earlier The Tragedy of Hoffman (1602) to his friend Richard Kilvert, the publisher Hugh Perry makes explicit the process of patronage. Perry shows the collaborative nature of this enterprise by using the familiar metaphor of the text as orphan, which he and Kilvert help rescue. Perry writes:

this Tragedy hapning into my hands, I have now adventured it unto the Presse, and wanting both a Parent to owne it, and a Patron to protect it, am fayne to Act the Fathers part, and have adventured to address it unto your Worthy selfe. (Chettle A2)

Under Kilvert's wings, Perry insists, the text flies "for a new birth" (Chettle A2). The play has had a former life in the theater: "it hath passed the Stage already with good applause" (Chettle A2). It now enjoys life as a newly printed text, protected by a kind patron, "who have alwaies bin a true Favourer of Artes and Learning" (Chettle A2). Perrys dedication encapsulates two primary functions of printers and publishers: recapture older texts and make them available and find protection and sponsorship for them.

Known for his involvement in the printing of the Shakespeare First Folio and for his publishing the early seventeenth-century collection of plays by William Alexander (TheMonarchicke Tragedies, 1604), Edward Blount in 1632 decided to resurrect six of John Lyly's plays, which he had printed by William Stansby. In his address to readers, Blount frames the matter as recovery of an excellent poet who deserves recognition and an edition. Blount writes:

These Papers of his, lay like dead Lawrels in a Churchyard; But I have gathered the scattered branches up, and by a Charme (gotten from Apollo) made them greene againe, and set them up as Epitaphes to his Memory. (Lyly A5)

(One wonders if Blount is glancing at two other Elizabethan writers: Thomas Churchyard and Robert Greene.) This publisher performs an extraordinary task of unearthing part of dramatic heritage, something no other printer has done on this scale, reaching back some forty years. Leah Scragg has rightly pointed to the "relative boldness of Blount's project. The publication of the collected works of contemporary dramatists was still in its infancy as a publishing venture" (8). Blount insists that it would be a sin "to suffer these Rare Monuments of wit, to lye covered in Dust, and a shame, such conceipted Comedies, should be Acted by none but wormes" (Lyly A5--A5V). Blount also praises Lyly's contribution to the English language. And he claims: "Thou canst not repent the Reading of them over: when Old John Lilly, is merry with thee in thy Chamber, Thou shalt say, Few (or None) of our Poets now are such witty Companions" (Lyly A5V-A6). The bookseller thus throws down a marker of taste, boldly suggesting that comic dramatists of the 1630s do not measure up to Lyly.

Blount dedicates this Lyly edition to Richard Lumley, Viscount of Waterford. In the epistle dedicatory Blount writes in a similar vein, observing, for example: "The greatest treasure our Poet left behind him, are these six ingots of refined invention: richer than Gold. Were they Diamonds they are now yours" (Lyly A3V-A4). He provides a different metaphor earlier:

The spring is at hand, and therefore I present you a Lilly, growing in a Grove of Lawrels. For this Poet, sat at the Sunnes Table: Apollo gave him a wreath of his owne Bayes-, without snatching, the Lyre he played on, had no borrowed strings. (Lyly A3v)

Offering heady praise for a dramatist long since dead and one who wrote for a refined and limited audience, Blount comes across as a man on a mission. We catch a hint of that attitude in Blounts address to readers in the earlier John Earles Micro-cosmographie (1628), also printed by Stansby, where he writes: "I have (for once) adventur'd to playe the Mid-wifes part, helping to bring forth these Infants into the World, which the Father would have smoothered" (Earle A2--A2V). He apparently also rescued Greg Brydges's Horae Subseciuae (1620), whose papers have accidentally fallen into Blount's hands. In "default" of the author, Blount writes to readers and closes: "But if the Booke please you, come home to my Shop, you shall have it bound ready to your hand" (Brydges A3-A3V).

A year after the Lyly collection, the publisher William Sheares brought together an edition of John Marston's plays; he dedicated the collection to Lady Elizabeth Cary, Viscountess Falkland. Most of the dedicatory epistle focuses on defending plays, trying to account for the resistance to plays. "Is it," Sheares writes, "because they are Playes? The name it seemes somewhat offends them, whereas if they were styled Workes, thy might have their Approbation also" (Marston A3-A3V). Sheares claims: Marston "was not inferiour unto any in this kinde of Writing, in those dayes when these were penned, and I am perswaded equall unto the best Poets of our times" (Marston A3V). Two lines of defense occur: one, these plays "were his Juvenilia, and youthfull Recreations" (Marston A3V); and second, Marston has had nothing to do with putting together this edition. Had he not been "so farre distant from this place, hee would have beene more carefull in revising the former Impressions, and more circumspect about this" (Marston A4). Marston, now in his "Autumne, and declining age" need not be ashamed of this collection, free as it is from "obscene speeches" and "scurrilous taunts and jests" (Marston A4). This publisher's aesthetic judgment may strike many as uninformed or misguided. In the author's absence, the publisher has stepped in to rescue these disparate texts and to create a collection, similar in function to Blount's effort with Lyly. But Marston, when he found out about this edition, apparently objected, for Sheares reissued the volume in the same year with a new title that removed Marston's name from the title page.

The busy John Okes, successor to his father, the printer Nicholas Okes, dedicates the first edition (1638) of William Rowleys A Shoemaker a Gentleman to the guild of Shoemakers. In doing so, he calls attention, rather like Blount, to the recuperative function of a printer or publisher. That is, Okes rescues this play, never before printed, which he says in the dedication, "though written many yeares since, ought not therefore to be slighted" (Greg 3: 1223). Even though it may not suit current, fashionable tastes, the play deserves to be available: "yet for the matter and Subject, none of a more delightfull and pleasant Style" (Greg 3: 1223). Likewise, "it hath bin so well approoved by you in the acting of it upon the Stage," Okes writes, "that I could not chuse but commend it to you now in Print: for it is a Play that is often Acted" (Greg 3: 1223). Some "twenty yeares agone" (Greg 3: 1223) this play flourished in fashion, Okes insists. Its mixture of British and Roman subject matter, resembling its contemporary Cymbeline, Okes presumably finds desirable, indeed suiting this moment, "when the glory of our Nation is so much admired, and the valour of our English so much esteemed" (Greg 3: 1223). How Okes got a text of this play, we do not know. In any event, he makes a seemingly popular play available for reading and study. He saves it from oblivion.

Robert Davenports A New Tricke to Cheat the Divell (1639), printed by John Okes, contains an unsigned address to the reader that I think Okes probably wrote, even though Greg assigns it to the publisher Humphrey Blunden. (Interestingly, another issue of this play has a cancel title page which removes Blunden's name.) Okes first suggests that he need not invest much time in explaining the worth of the author or commending "the Worke with Eloquent words" (Davenport A2). Instead, "It is a Comedy which hath bin often acted, and so well approved; that I hope none will dislike of it now in the reading" (Davenport A2). Okes embraces the familiar metaphor of the text as orphan, who, "wanting the Father which first begot it, craves a Patronage from thy gentle acceptance" (Davenport A2). Okes hopes that "it will prove no lesse pleasing to the Reader, than it hath formerly beene to the Spectators" (Davenport A2). Like others, the printer wants to underscore a connection between performance and printing. This address to the reader sounds similar to words penned by Okes in both his dedication of John Maltbey's A Grand-fathers Legacy; Or, Maltheys Morsels for Mourners (1633) to John and Bridget Robinson and his "Printer to the Reader." In the dedication, for example, Okes refers to the text as a "new borne Babe" that has been preserved: "And being brought to the view of the World, and past the Presse, I have selected you ... knowing you most fitting to Patronise this Worke; and do desire you to receive it into your protection" (Maltbey A2V). Okes has rescued these ruminations of the preacher Maltbey and made them available, securing them with the patronage of the Robinsons.

As Sheares has dedicated the Marston edition to a writer, so much earlier Walter Burre, the publisher of The Knight of the Burning Pestle (1613), had dedi-cared the quarto text to his friend Robert Keysar, a manager of the Queen's Revels, the company that probably performed the play in 1607, thereby making an explicit link between performance and text. In the dedication Burre pursues the metaphor of the text as a child, soon after his birth "exposed to the wide world, who for want of judgment ... utterly rejected it" (Beaumont 3). But Keysar in his "understanding, and singular love to good wits" (Beaumont 3) sent the infant, "somewhat ragged," to Burre, who has nurtured this infant text and clad it "in good lasting clothes" (Beaumont 3). Now in the quarto edition it is "able to speak for itself" (Beaumont 3)--hence no longer an infant. Indeed, this text now seeks to "try his fortune in the world, where if yet it be welcome, father, foster-father, nurse, and child, all have their desired end" (Beaumont 3). As the publisher releases this child into the world, he comments: "Perhaps it will be thought to be of the race of Don Quixote" (Beaumont 3). Burre thus alludes to the play's indebtedness to Don Quixote and to the English translation, published in 1612. These two texts may then together "travel through the world to seek their adventures" (Beaumont 4). We may view Blount and Sheares in the 1630s as having performed on a larger scale what Burre accomplished in 1613: the rescue of neglected or abused texts.

I close by looking at two printers, separated by seventy years, who help delineate the boundaries of how printers approached the task of addressing readers. John Day, for example, uses an extraordinary metaphor to encapsulate the plight of a badly mistreated text; he creates a vivid, erotic image of the text in his address to the reader in the second edition of Gorboduc, now renamed The Tragedy of Ferrex and Porrex (1570). On the title page (Greg 3: 1193) Day erases the identities of the playwrights Norton and Sackville and claims that the text is "set forth without addition or alteration, but altogether as the same was shewed on the stage before the quenes maiestie, about nine yeares past." From the title page through the address, Day makes claims about his editorial function: the myth of the corrupt text now corrected by the printer. Not only has Day set out to provide a perfected text to offset the unauthorized one published earlier, but also he imaginatively "feminizes" the previous text, the one that had been put forth "excedingly corrupted." Day likens that text to a maiden enticed into the printer's house where she encountered defilement: the printer had "done her villanie, and after all to bescratched her face, tome her apparell, berayed and disfigured her, and then thrust her out of dores dishonested." As Wendy Wall has observed,

   The stationer opens this work by comparing the text's previous
   corrupt printing to a ravished virgin. In his address, the scenes
   of writing and reading are fraught with images of sexual violation
   and wantonness. (182) (8)


The playwrights, in Day's extended allegory (Greg 3: 1193), first encounter this distraught woman, much displeased that "she so ranne abroad without leave, whereby she caught her shame, as many wantons do." The writers have given her fresh apparel and attired "her in such forme as she was before." Only then does

she arrive at Day's shop in "better forme." Probably the printer puns on the term "forme," implying the setting of type. In her restored fashion, new inner and outer formes, this young woman has become "lesse ashamed of the dishonestie done to her because it was by fraude and force." In the final movement of this intriguing address, Day shifts the responsibility for her welfare to readers, who must protect her and entertain her courteously: "If not, but that she shall be still reproched with her former missehap, ... she ... will surely play Lucreces part, & of her self die for shame." Sexual violence continues as a dominant motif in this address. Day closes by saying that he has given her "one poore blacke gowne lined with white" so that she can "goe abroad among you withall." The printer has offered what any printer can: black print on white paper.

Wall observes: "Although the printing of the authorized text supposedly erases its wayward and lewd history, the publisher's lengthy analogy indelibly inscribes the text as a promiscuous and immoral object" (182). I think the situation may not be this bleak. After all, if readers receive the text and protect it, the text no longer remains promiscuous. Only mistreatment, which one might see as perversely embracing the corrupt text, can lead to additional violence, even to the extraordinary point of its playing Lucreces part. Undeniably, Day has chosen a rich and sexually charged metaphor by which to express concern about the status of the text; but the emphasis falls on the process of correction and protection--that which printers in conjunction with authors and readers can do. No other printer in this era so visualizes a dramatic text; perhaps no others shared Day's imagination. Certainly even he himself a few years earlier in addressing readers in Hutchinson's collection of sermons, A Faithful Declaration (1560), had been less flamboyant, settling here for an image of his being called to Hutchinson's deathbed and promising to publish the sermons. Day closes with suitable humility: "So accept and take it In good parte, and geve the thankes unto God" (Hutchinson A8V).

As Douglas Brooks correctly points out, Wall in her analysis fails to take note of the publishing context of Day's address to readers (Brooks 24-43). The subtext of this address, Brooks observes, concerns Day's own printing difficulties and his attempt to put himself in the best possible light. Brooks writes: "Wall does not see Daye's preface as the elaborate and masterful sales pitch that it is" (33). The printer aids his cause by introducing "an early generation of readers of printed English vernacular drama to the discourse of textual piracy" (Brooks 31). Day's elaborate tropes of gender relations serve "the re-embodiment and commodification of a play text that had already been printed and marketed by someone else" (Brooks 35). In this earliest address by a printer Day has opened the territory of the work that such prefatory matter can accomplish, including editorial myth and commercial self-fashioning couched in an exceptionally rich, if disturbing, metaphor.

Seventy years after the 1570 text of Gorboduc, we encounter Q2 of Middleton's A Mad World, My Masters (1640), printed by John Spencer. Here we find an address to the reader that uses none of the sex and violence of Day's address in 1570--no threat of Lucrece here; instead, we find gentle assistance for the reader. Perhaps Spencers tone corresponds to his position as Keeper of the Library at Sion College, a point that he makes in the address to the reader in Willan's Eliah's Wish (1630), a sermon that Spencer received "by much importune labour." I suggest that Spencer's address in the Middleton text functions as a rare moment of literary criticism, certainly some of the earliest of Middleton. I do not imply that some sort of evolution occurs from Day to Spencer in terms of how printers address readers, but certainly printers envisioned their prefatory functions in sometimes radically different ways. Day and Spencer serve as convenient markers of how printers set forth their texts. Where Day focuses on the printing of the text and the battle with corruption and defilement, Spencer emphasizes content of the text, providing no comments about the printing process of this Middleton quarto.

Spencer refers to the reader as "gentle" and "courteous" and calls himself "Thy immutable friend" (Middleton 3: 250). This establishes a non-threatening, non-violent tone, one conducive to discussing the merit and content of the play. He begins: "let not the title or name of this comedy be any forestalling or weakening of the worthy author's judgment, whose known abilities will survive to all posterities, though he be long since dead" (Middleton 3: 250). Spencer hopes that the reading "shall not prove distasteful"; indeed, "I rather trust that the language and plot which you shall find in each scene shall rather be commended and applauded than any way derided or scorned" (Middleton 3: 250). From language and plot Spencer moves to action, "which is the life of a comedy, and the glory of the author, it hath been sufficiently expressed to the liking of the spectators and commendations of the actors" (Middleton 3: 250). The printer's aesthetic principles and judgment permeate this address in ways that respond to the text rather than as in other cases where the printer exercised judgment in determining what to print.

"In the reading of one act," Spencer writes, "you guess the consequence; for here is no bombasted or fustian stuff, but every line weighed as with balance, and every sentence placed with judgment and deliberation" (Middleton 3: 250-51). In this analysis of the play's achievement the printer underscores how it aids in reading instead of creating difficulties. Spencer writes all this, he says, in order to "prevent censure" (Middleton 3: 251). He paves the way for an approach to the text. In the last section of the address he confronts one potential problem: Middleton's occasional use of meter "here and there," "which I hope will not prove so disdainful" (Middleton 3: 251). Instead, "Consider, gentle reader, it is full twenty years since it was written, at which time metre was most in use, and showed well upon the conclusion of every act and scene" (Middleton 3: 251). We cannot judge Middleton by the standards of the 1640s because he wrote much earlier. Spencer's perceptive judgment, historically based, clears away any underbrush of a rules-based criticism that ignores historical setting. Day offers us a perspective on the travails of the text as text, but Spencer seventy years later provides a means of understanding the text as a work of art: two different printers looking in two different directions, but both finding their voices in addresses to readers.

These addresses by printers and publishers in dramatic texts underscore not only their importance but also call attention to these books as objects that should be taken seriously. They provide a "fixed" text in the midst of the flow of theater performance--or the lack thereof. The printers' active participation in the cultural production of these commodities, extending far beyond merely setting type, as I have argued, reinforces the distance the culture had travelled since the earlier days of scribal production of texts. Even in seemingly ephemeral play texts printers call attention to themselves, insert themselves into the texts in ways that shape potential readerly reaction. They exhibit a refreshing, if sometimes self-serving, concern for providing accurate and complete texts, supplanting what might have been deemed the authors prerogative. But absent, dead, and indifferent authors leave a vast space for printers and publishers to occupy. They rush in to fill this vacuum, rescuing the orphaned offspring of dramatists and restoring to a quasivirginal state previously corrupted texts. In their addresses to readers and epistles dedicatory, printers and publishers want us to know about their labors, their good will, and their persistence. They become critics and writers about drama even as they provide a multi-layered record of textual production. These printers and publishers often provide the most compelling way by which we know what occupied the principal theaters of London. They occasionally snatch texts from oblivion and force writers to abandon private views of writing. Or, as in the case of Edward Blount, they actively rescue abandoned and forgotten texts, which in the view of the publisher merit readers' attention and interest. Clearly the emphasis falls on the printed text for readers; Blount and others do not make the case for performance. Addresses to readers and epistles dedicatory signal an active component of the economic marketplace; and they also reinforce a marketplace of ideas, which printers and publishers tease in sometimes startling ways.

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Scragg, Leah. "Edward Blount and the History of Lylian Criticism." Review of English Studies NS 46(1995): 1-10.

Shakespeare, William. Troilus and Cressida. Ed. David Bevington. New Arden Edition. Walton-on-Thames: Thomas Nelson, 1998.

Sharpham, Edward. The Fleire. London, 1607.

S. R. The Noble Soldier. Or, A Contract Broken, Justly revenged. London, 1634.

Turner, Robert K. "The Folio of 1647." The Dramatic Works in the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon. Ed. Fredson Bowers. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996.

Wall, Wendy. The Imprint of Gender: Authorship and Publication in the English Renaissance. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1993.

Willan, Robert. Eliah's Wish: A Prayer for Death. London, 1630.

NOTES

I am indebted to a Huntington Library-British Academy Grant (1999) that enabled me to complete much of the research for this paper in The British Library.

(1) I have tried to bear in mind the distinctions about printers, publishers, and booksellers that Blayney helpfully makes in his article, "The Publication of Playbooks." I also call attention to Adrian Johns's challenging book, especially Chapter 2, "Literatory Life: The Culture and Credibility of the Printed Book in Early Modern England," 58-186.

(2) Masten offers an excellent analysis of the Beaumont and Fletcher Folio, 121-55.

(3) See Turner's discussion of the Folio, xxvii--xxxv.

(4) Margreta de Grazia observes that "The single portrait, however, combines the features which the preliminaries assign to the collaboration. Fletcher's classicized bust is situated on two Parnassian wooded hills, marmoreal Art implanted in a Natural setting" (46). 51 have modernized u-v, i-j.

(6) See Bentley and Hoy.

(7) For discussion of the peculiarities of the two states of the quarto text, see Bevingtons introduction in his edition of the play.

(8) See Wall's discussion of this address 182-84.
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Author:Bergeron, David M.
Publication:Explorations in Renaissance Culture
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Date:Jun 22, 2014
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