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"Multivalent print"



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  • But earliest printed work not the bible, but indulgences: (printed 1454, filled out 27 February 1455, supporting war against Turks)
  • Indulgence for the benefit of the confraternity of St. James of Compostella printed by Wynken de Worde (1498); found in the binding of a bible
  • Summons from the Exchequer to the Fee farmer of the Priory of Caxford , 1622
  • Printed legal document filled in with 4 lines of manuscript addendum below printed text. Includes six signatures. This form is dated 4 December 1677 by Sir Godfrey Copley of Sprotborough, making Francis Read of Giggleswick Bailiff of the Wapentake of Ewecross.
  • Manuscript leaves continuing Polychroncion (Caxton 1482)
  • Aristotle's Ethics, with interleaves
  • “ There are many other errors, which being but small, I entreat the courteous reader to correct as he findes them.” (Generall History of Virginia 1624)
  • Substituting “presence” for “company” (Flecknoe's epigrams 1673)
  • Here reads AGAINST the text: abominable pope Gower's Confessio Amantis (Caxton 1483)
  • In same book, also annotations that have nothing to do with the text: “Chrystofer Swallowe was marryed the 12 th day of July in the yere of oure lorde 1553 whiche was the seventhe yere of the Reigne of kinge Edward the Sixth …. and in the firste year of the Reigne of our most Excellent and worthie princes Queyne marie the fyrst”
  • Deed of land involving Christopher Swallowe and “Dorithe his wife”
  • Early readers also used print for their own purposes in other ways, taking books apart and reassembling them to make their own meaning. Here's a famous example... Little Giddings bible concordance (Harvard copy)
  • But other examples too of what Adam Smyth calls “reading with scissors” 1650s commonplace book made by John Gibson while imprisoned
  • Another example of cutting out bits from print and remaking them Mary Sidney's translation of Philippe de Mornay's A discourse of life and death (1600) embellished with borders cut from Richard Day's Book of Christian prayers and ms couplets
  • This mixture of print and manuscript, as I've said before, is more common than we often recognize today, and can be found in works bound together in single volumes Collection of verse from BL
  • Sammelbande not unusual acts in the period; plenty of indications that book users would join different works into a single binding (Blind Beggar of Alexandria, Mother Bombie, Hans Beerpot, Michaelmas Term, Menechmus, 3 Lords of London, 3 Ladies of London, The Comedy of Susanna, Jack Juggler, Peddlers Prophecy, Like to Like, Musedorus) List of plays bound together by an early user …
  • But these plays are no longer joined; were separated and rebound individually in 1961. This binders note is from the rebound Like Will to Like (the list of contents remains bound with the first item on the list, Chapman's Blind Beggar of Alexandria)
  • The 1961 binding for Like Will to Like; front board and spine
  • Sometimes, luckily, such collections stay together: Collection of plays and masques in contemporary binding (Coelum Brittanicum, Triumph of Peace, Roman Actor, Catiline, Caesar and Pompey, Nero, King John, Henry 4 th , Richard 3 rd , Edward 4 th , Queen Elizabeth [If you know not me you know nobody], Four Prentices of London, Just Italian, Noble Spanish Soldier, Aristippus)


  • 1. “Multivalent print, or, Learning to love ambiguity in three easy lessons”Sarah WernerFolger Shakespeare Library@wynkenhimself
  • 2. Print is not the opposite of manuscript.@wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198
  • 3. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Rylands Library
  • 4. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Cambridge University Library
  • 5. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 6. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 7. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image by SW from FSL item
  • 8. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Roger Gaskell / Houghton Library
  • 9. Print is not closed.@wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198
  • 10. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image by SW from FSL item
  • 11. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 12. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image by SW from FSL item
  • 13. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image by SW from FSL item
  • 14. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image by SW from FSL item
  • 15. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Houghton Library
  • 16. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from British Library
  • 17. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 18. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from British Library
  • 19. Our notion of early modern print comes from the 19 century. th@wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198
  • 20. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 21. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 22. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 23. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library
  • 24. @wynkenhimself #mla13 #s198 image from Folger Shakespeare Library