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By Andrew R. Murphy

A Concise spouse to Shakespeare and the textual content introduces the early versions, modifying practices, and publishing historical past of Shakespeare’s performs and poems, and examines their impression on bibliographic reports as a complete.

  • The first single-volume publication to supply an available and authoritative advent to Shakespearean bibliographic stories
  • Includes a beneficial creation, notes on Shakespeare’s texts, and an invaluable bibliography
  • Contributors symbolize either best and rising students within the box
  • Represents an unheard of source for either scholars and school

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It was not, however, as many earlier commentators held, a culture of systematic and retributive censorship and oppression. As John Barnard reminds us: 26 The Publishing Trade in Shakespeare’s Time The continuing attempts throughout the period to control the output of the London presses and the circulation of manuscripts and of unlicensed, pirated or subversive books or pamphlets, whether through licensing, the Stationers’ Company, the Star Chamber, Parliamentary acts or, after the Restoration, through Sir Roger L’Estrange’s appointment as Surveyor of the Press, were only intermittently successful.

For 1601, two years after the construction of the Globe theater on London’s Bankside, the ESTC lists 258 titles, with 222 printed in London, figures that rise to 487 and 416 in 1616, the year of Shakespeare’s death, and 566 and 474 in 1623, the year that saw the publication of the First Folio (see Barnard and Bell 2002). At the same time, however, the number of printing houses in existence was strictly controlled, and numbers remained consistent at 22 or 23 until the 1640s, when restrictions established by a Star Chamber decree of 1586 were relaxed.

In 1622, six years after Shakespeare’s death, some moves were made to regularize this ad hoc procedure and insist on registration, but these were rarely enforced, and it was not until 1637 that the Star Chamber issued a decree stating that every book should “be first lawfully licenced and authorized . . and shall be also first entred into the Registers Booke of the Company of Stationers” (Arber 1967: IV, 530). To return to our brief case study, on August 29, 1597, Andrew Wise both licensed and registered his copy of Richard II, paying the 27 Helen Smith standard sum of 6d.

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