University of Virginia Library

Search this document 


expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
collapse section 
expand section3. 
expand section4. 
expand section5. 
expand section7. 
expand section8. 
expand section9. 
expand section10. 
expand section11. 
collapse section12. 
expand section13. 

expand section 



It is a great pleasure to record once again my hearty thanks for the kind help of Professor Fredson Bowers. In this case, as always whenever he has been consulted, he has been ever-ready to offer advice and criticism.


The Britwell copy is now in The Pierpont Morgan Library (Accession number 20892; Check List 1778). Under no. 6474, the STC states: "Sheet f reprinted" and cites only the Morgan copy.


Five copies are cited in Seymour de Ricci's Census of Caxtons (Bibliographical Society, Illustrated Monograph no. XV, 1909, pp. 78-79). The sixth copy was formerly in the possession of the firm of William H. Robinson Ltd., and was described by W. Loftus Hare in his study: "A Newly Discovered Volume Printed by William Caxton," Apollo, October, 1931 (11 page reprint published by the firm). Details as to this copy I have as the courtesy of the present owner.


Leaf "fiij" appears to be signed "fij" in the Morgan copy, but this may be the result of improper inking.


On f6, line 27 of the BM copy, is found the word "lauement" ("lauament" in the reprint); the earliest occurrence of this word noted by NED is 1597.


See below, where the reprint has "Jhesu crist" for the "crist" of the first setting.


On f6 verso, 27 lines of the first setting have been expanded to 28 lines in the second.


For discussions of this problem, see Charlton Hinman, "Principles Governing the Use of Variant Spellings as Evidence of Alternate Setting by Two Compositors," The Library, 4th ser., XXI (1940), 78-94, and Philip Williams, "The Compositor of the 'Pied-Bull' Lear," Papers Bibl. Soc. Univ. Virginia, I (1948), 61-68.


The Study of Incunabula, trans. by Lucy E. Osborne (New York, 1933), p. 112.


Guide-letters are found regularly in the Recueil des histoires de Troie (Duff 243) and occasionally in the English version of this work (Duff 242). They appear regularly in the History of Jason (Duff 245), which both Blades and Proctor considered the first large English book printed in England. Blades (no. 9) dates it as belonging to the "early part of 1477."


Original Series 189 (1932), edited by A. T. P. Byles. In the re-issue with corrections (1937), Mr. Byles takes note of the two states (p. xxxi) but no variant readings are given in his text. Volume VI of the Gesamtkatalog, which contains the description of the Fayttes, bears the date 1934.


This is the former Huth copy, listed by Seymour de Ricci under no. 28.2.


The first line on folio B7 recto normally reads: "swīmyīg ouer a gret ryuer / and thurghe thees waye of swī-|| mīg . . ."; in the Yale copy the same line reads: "swīmyn oer a gret ryuer / and thurghe thees waye of swīs-|| mīg . . .". This may represent a variant setting caused by a desire to improve the text or it may be no more than a mechanical variant brought about by having the type pulled out by the ink-ball and incorrectly restored. Another minor variant indicating stop-press corrections may be found on N6; here the "Capytulo" should be numbered 16 but no copy seems to have this number. Some copies (for example: Morgan, Columbia, Yale, Queens [Oxford], etc.) have "Capytulo xiiij" while others (Huntington, Princeton, Bodleian, University Library Cambridge, etc.) have the number "xv." It is not clear which is the earlier setting in this case.


On S2, l. 22, both settings have "theunto" for "therunto" and on S5v, l. 6, "hyeues" for "hyenes."


Neither Seymour de Ricci nor the Huth Catalogue (I, 310) indicate that any leaves have ever been added to the copy. According to the sale catalogue (p. 444, lot 1570), the copy is "perfect and large" and was described as being in a binding by Riviere.


For a discussion of when Caxton volumes were presumably bound, see my "The Binding of Books Printed by William Caxton," Papers Bibl. Soc. America, XXXVIII (1944), 1-8.


The modern binding makes it impossible to be entirely certain, but S1 and S6 appear to be conjugates. Whether conjugacy can be proved or not is immaterial, since it is shown above that no one would supply a blank leaf anyway. Accordingly it is reasonable to assume that S6 is the conjugate of S1.


A similar error of imposition occurs in the Fayttes where O3 verso contains the text which should be found on O6 recto and vice versa. All the copies seen by the writer contain this error. An example of an error of imposition which led to the suppression of the sheet is cited in my note "Caxton's Blanchardin and Eglantine: Notes on the Leaf Preserved in the British Museum," BSA, XXXIX (1945), 156-61.


For a discussion of the classification of variants, see my paper "Variants in English Incunabula," Bookmen's Holiday (New York, 1943), pp. 459-74.


It has been suggested to me that Caxton might have suppressed the first setting of S2.5 because of the errors in the colophon (representing the printer's official statement) and that the incorrect sheets were withdrawn from the made-up copies and the new sheets substituted for those suppressed. Thus the off-set in the Princeton copy could have come from the first sheet S2.5 before the corrected one was substituted for it. However, this seems to me an untenable theory in view of the fact that only four copies of the second setting are known against the thirteen of the first. If Caxton reprinted and substituted sheet S2.5 in order to correct the colophon, one would (I should judge) expect the majority of copies to have the second (official) setting and only the occasional (overlooked) example to preserve the original reading. If, however, extra sheets of the second setting of S2.5 were printed because of an original short count, it may be argued that these were substituted (because of the superior colophon) for sheets of the first setting to the extent that these correct sheets were available; this also would explain the presence of the "wrong" off-set in the Princeton copy. But one should observe that errors in the colophon did not seem to disturb Caxton unduly; note the many instances of such misprints cited by W. J. B. Crotch, The Prologues and Epilogues of William Caxton (Early English Text Society, Original Series 176, 1928). Other Caxton editions with errors in the colophons include: Ars moriendi (Duff 33), two Chronicles of England (Duff 97-8), Doctrinal of Sapience (Duff 127), etc.


Furthermore one would then be obliged to assume that Caxton employed two presses, one to print one forme and the other to perfect the sheets. In that case it is easy enough to believe that one forme might go to pie but that both should do so about the same time passes the bounds of credibility.


Such reprintings are not peculiar to Caxton. See, for example, the case cited in my article "Notes on Two Incunabula Printed by Aldus Manutius," BSA, XXXVI (1942), 18-26.