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This paper was originally given in a very much shorter form as a lecture at the University of Illinois, the University of Virginia, and the University of California (Los Angeles) in May 1963. In revising it I have tried to take account of more recent work but I am very conscious of the injustices I am doubtless doing to those whom I quote out of context. May I plead lack of space and offer the reflection that although methodological discussion has a way of seeming unfair to those criticised, it's only a form of intellectual house-keeping, dependent upon and tributary to the greater work of others? Mottos for the day might be: "Profound truths are not to be expected of methodology" (Sir Karl Popper) and "Methodology is at best a shortcut for the inexperienced" (R. C. Bald).


Textual and Literary Criticism (1959), p. 115.


Quoted at p. 82 of The Logic of Scientific Discovery (Harper Torchbook edition, 1965).


Bibliographers' use of the word may be consulted at the following points: W. W. Greg, Collected Papers, ed. J. C. Maxwell (1966), pp. 76, 220-3; R. B. McKerrow, Prolegomena for the Oxford Shakespeare (1939), pp. vi-viii; R. C. Bald, "Evidence and Inference in Bibliography," reprinted in A Mirror for Modern Scholars, ed. Lester A. Beaurline (1966), pp. 2-3; Fredson Bowers, On Editing Shakespeare (1955), pp. 41, 95, 99, 124; Textual and Literary Criticism, pp. 70, 81, 96, 100-1, 115; Bibliography and Textual Criticism (1964), pp. 72, 74, 90; J. Hazel Smith, "The Composition of the Quarto of Much Ado about Nothing," SB, XVI (1963), 10.


Treatise of Human Nature, Book I, part iii, sec. 12.


The point is neatly made by Robert K. Turner, "Reappearing Types as Bibliographical Evidence," SB, XIX (1966), 198: "hypothesis is essential to observation." Professor Hinman has a relevant paragraph: "When I first learned from the indisputable evidence furnished by individual types that the Folio was indeed set throughout by formes rather than by successive pages, I was probably as much surprised as anyone else. But should I have been? To prove setting by formes required evidence not adduced before; but not to have suspected it sooner was to have failed to see facts — or at least the probable implications of a complex of related facts — that had long been staring us all in the face, so to speak." The point is made "in order to suggest a not unimportant general principle of bibliographical investigation" — Printing and Proof-Reading of the Shakespeare First Folio (1963), I, 50-51.


The difficulties created by limited criteria are indicated by Antonin Hruby in "A Quantitative Solution to the Ambiguity of Three Texts," SB, XVIII (1965), 153-4; and Professor Bowers warns of the inadequacy and dangers of inferential arguments in "Some Relations of Bibliography to Editorial Problems," SB, III (1950), 54, 57. Professor Bowers' most thorough and challenging investigation of the problem is offered in chapter III of Bibliography and Textual Criticism. He suggests three orders of certainty, "the demonstrable, the probable, and the possible" (p. 77), and stresses the importance of "the postulate of normality" as a necessary curb on the number of plausible conjectures that human ingenuity might otherwise devise (pp. 64, 70, 72). See also Hinman, "The Prentice Hand in the Tragedies of the Shakespeare First Folio: Compositor E," SB, IX (1957), 3.


Professor Bowers remarks: "No one can argue that we know all about the printing processes of the past, and it is just as obvious from time to time this postulate of normality has fostered incorrect explanations based on imperfect evidence." (Bibliography and Textual Criticism, p. 72). The cautionary note is justified, not because the elementary physical actions of setting, transferring, imposing, inking, proofing, printing from, or distributing type differed from century to century, nor even because the kinds of work and sizes of shops differed, but because the amount of work done and the relations between those performing it differed from day to day. "Normality" in one sense is limited, though within its limitations valuable; in the other sense it doesn't exist.


"The subject as practised": it could be urged that no science is a disembodied activity, but only the activities of its practitioners, and that it is defined less by its body of commonly accepted knowledge than by the dynamics of difference. Robert K. Turner's "The Composition of the Insatiate Countess Q2," SB, XII (1958), 198-203, for example, does not offer mechanical demonstration and proof from the physical and inexorable evidence of the printing house so much as a proliferation of unrelated, arbitrary hypotheses to explain away inconsistencies.


May I recall what Greg said of Professor Dover Wilson? "He is of imagination all compact. And imagination, I would remind you, is the highest gift in scientific investigation, even if at times it may be the deepest pitfall." (Collected Papers, p. 217). I have myself a pleasant recollection of meeting Professor Dover Wilson in May 1958. "I always believe," he said, "that if you have a good idea you should send it out into the world. If it survives, fine. If it doesn't, then at least you know it's wrong." The serious implications of that last phrase are only now beginning to dawn on me.


The primary records are printed in volume II of my Cambridge University Press, 1696-1712 (1966).


AUMLA (May, 1967), p. 109. Dr J. D. Fleeman's discovery of the Bowyer ledger was reported in The Times Literary Supplement, 19 Dec. 1963, p. 1056, and some of its details were put to use in his note "William Somervile's 'The Chace,' 1735," PBSA, LVIII (1966), 1-7.


Professor Hinman conveniently summarizes the evidence and offers some very careful qualifications of it in Printing and Proof-Reading I, 39-47. Although his method and purposes must in fact assume a norm, he is quite clear about the foolishness of trying to pretend that there may not have been considerable variation from it (cf. I, 46).


I must express my gratitude to Dr Léon Voet, Curator of the Plantin-Moretus Museum for supplying me with photocopies of entries from the Mémorial des Ouvriers for the months of Jan.-Mar. 1622. Dr Voet has brought together much valuable information in "The Making of Books in the Renaissance as told by the Archives of the Plantin-Moretus Museum," PaGA, X, no. 2 (Dec. 1965), 33-62. The most relevant Oxford document is a "Bill Book" for the years 1769-72 which I cite by courtesy of the Printer to the University. John Wilson's "Case-Book" was brought to my attention by Miss Frances M. Thomson who is preparing an edition of it. I should also mention Mr Rollo G. Silver's contributions to this journal, especially "Mathew Carey's Printing Equipment," SB, XIX (1966), 85-122, which form a valuable addition to the primary documentation on early printing houses. There is a more general point to be made. Greg, recognizing the level of generality that any respectable discipline must seek, insisted that bibliography comprehend manuscript as well as printed texts. Similarly it might be argued that ancient and modern book production should not be too readily separated. Mr Simon Nowell-Smith has shown in his 1966 Lyell Lectures how more recent books can be usefully (and disturbingly for such concepts as "edition" and "issue") documented from publishers' archives. The growth of such bibliographical work in the modern period will, if the subject is to keep its integrity, enforce a greater realism in discussing the productive conditions for earlier books.


For these references see Cambridge University Press I, 89-92, 139-40.


E. S. Furniss, The Position of the Laborer in a System of Nationalism (1920), p. 234. Furniss remarks that "The English laborer . . . responded, when prices fell or wages rose, so that he could satisfy his wants with diminished effort, by 'keeping holiday the remainder of his time'." (p. 235). The contemporary evidence cited by Furniss is full and detailed. D.C. Coleman, in "Labour in the English Economy of the 17th Century," Economic History Review, 2nd ser. VIII (1956), 280-95, points out that modern writers have underrated the recurrent problem of unemployment and comments that half-employment was often the rule. He cites Thomas Manly's note of 1669 that "They work so much fewer days by how much the more they exact in wages;" remarks that this was said of "agricultural workers and of industrial, of urban as well as of rural;" and adds "Irregularity of work . . . was not confined to the working week. The working day at one end of the scale, the working year at the other, were both very different from their counterparts in the modern industrialized community" (p. 291).


Some Thoughts on the Interest of Money (1728), cited by Furniss.


Such an argument was in fact used in litigation in 1592 when Benjamin Prince, a journeyman employed by John Legate, said he need only do what he could whereas Parker, an apprentice, had to do as his master bade him. See "Notes on Printing at Cambridge, c. 1590," Trans. Cambridge Bibliographical Society, III (1959), 102. The whole question of full or partial employment, however, needs to be related to the evidence we have of journeymen's grievances. It may be that under conditions of widespread unemployment an increase in part-time work is to be expected rather than a severe restriction of the labour force to the few men of highest efficiency.


Mechanick Exercises, ed. H. Davis and H. Carter (1958), p. 327; see also p. 328 for the phrase "their Contracted Task." Professor Hinman (Printing and Proof-Reading, I, 42-45) considers some of the evidence for daily output at press and case (e.g. the Gay-Purslowe contract of 1631, Moxon, Richardson's figures of 1756, and early 19th-century rates for setting). He clearly considers the figures rather high and suggests that they were not consistently attained. I am sure he is right, notwithstanding abundant evidence elsewhere for high press output — see "Notes on Printing at Cambridge," p. 101 n., where a number of references are collected. Testimonies for 1592 claim 2500 impressions as the normal daily amount worked off for 3s.4d. per press-crew. But it is also stated that under the rules of the London Company a pressman was to have his full contracted wages if on any day, by agreement with the master, fewer sheets were printed. Several 19th-century ones could be added, but Blackwell's estimate of 2500 impressions per day, cited by Mr Rollo G. Silver, is among the most important ("Mathew Carey's Printing Equipment," p. 102). The real point, however, is not that these figures were norms, except perhaps for very large edition quantities, but the accepted maxima. The evidence is consistent with the hypothesis of extreme variability within the limits indicated, but any "norm" derived from the evidence can be repeatedly falsified and its predictive value thereby seriously impaired. It may be noted that Plantin's pressmen and compositors received differential payments, as did those of Crownfield and Bowyer, for formes of varying difficulty, and in 1592 differential rates applied to presswork according to the size of type.


The point about fluctuations in the number of workmen is admirably made, in the case of Plantin, by the charts in Raymond de Roover's "The Business Organization of the Plantin Press in the Setting of Sixteenth Century Antwerp," De Gulden Passer, XXXIV (1956), 104-20. The figures there given show the absolute variations, but in addition the ratios of workmen to presses and of compositors to pressmen may be easily calculated as at January in every year from 1564 to 1589. To take two years: on 4 Jan. 1572 there were 13 presses in use, 23 pressmen, 23 compositors, and 7 other employees; on 2 Jan. 1574 there were 16 presses in use, 32 pressmen, 20 compositors, and 4 other employees. The smaller English shops could not have tolerated this degree of fluctuation, but where the records survive the ratios of compositors to pressmen to presses can be shown to have varied quite markedly. The Cambridge and Bowyer presses illustrate a disturbingly large variance in weekly, monthly and annual levels of production; Strahan's and Charles Ackers' output differed significantly from one year to the next; and the charts given of Oxford printing in F. Madan's The Oxford University Press: a Brief Account (1908), although based only on surviving works, are a graphic corrective to an over-reliance on "norms." I know of no direct evidence that obliges us to exempt Elizabethan and Jacobean printers from such fluctuations, although the legal limitation on the number of printers has tempted some to assume continuous output at maximum levels. There is much evidence that some Elizabethan printers constantly lacked work.


Introduction to Bibliography (1928), p. 132.


Hinman, "New Uses for Headlines as Bibliographical Evidence," English Institute Annual, 1941 (1942), p. 209.


"Notes on Printing at Cambridge," p. 101. See also P. Hernlund, "William Strahan's Ledgers: Standard Charges for Printing, 1738-1785," SB, XX (1967), 89-111, esp. p. 104 where the frequencies of certain edition sizes are given. Professor Hinman notes the folly of setting edition sizes to suit bibliographical equations (Printing and Proof-Reading, I, 40), but bibliographers sometimes forget that the number printed is a marketing decision which bears no relation whatever to printing conditions, although a master would of course be concerned to apportion all the work on hand in the most economic way.


"The Degressive Principle," Times Literary Supplement, 1 Sept. 1966, p. 781.


I hope it will be agreed without my listing references that such an assumption is widespread. Professor Todd at least agrees, for he once wrote, in iconoclastic vein: "Implicit in most accounts of press-work on hand-printed books is the convenient assumption that, at a given time, the entire resources of the shop are devoted to the production of a single work . . .". — "Concurrent Printing: An Analysis of Dodsley's Collection of Poems by Several Hands," PBSA, XLVI (1952), 45. Jobbing work may be invoked as a convenient way of explaining apparent delay, but even in Professor Hinman's discussion of the First Folio, which takes some account of other works printed by Jaggard in 1621-3 (see I, 16-24), the fundamental work patterns are traced in isolation from the other work on hand as though the Folio contained in itself all the evidence of its production.


The Bowyer books tabled in appendix II (g) may serve as examples. The several editions of Voltaire were printed quite quickly (nos. 1-4); the 20 sheets of Baxter, a more difficult text, and the 17½ sheets of Spenser, both took 33 weeks (nos. 5 and 6); Lobb's 34 sheets, on the other hand, were finished in only 29 weeks; more direct evidence of the different speeds of work on different books can be seen in appendix II (a) — (f). For Ackers, see A Ledger of Charles Ackers, Printer of 'The London Magazine' (1968), p. 19. Few printers, however, were as slow as Nicholas Okes was with one work: in five years he had printed only 6 sheets of a book called Speculum Animae — Jackson, Records of the Court of the Stationers' Company, 1602-1640 (1957), p. 180.


Professor Todd later wrote of concurrent printing as a practice "extraordinary in the seventeenth century" but "commonplace in the eighteenth" — "Bibliography and the Editorial Problem in the Eighteenth Century," SB, IV (1951-2), 46. G. Thomas Tanselle, "Press Figures in America," SB, XIX (1966), 129-30, also writes of the need for fuller information on all books being handled within a shop at one time.


"Edward Allde as a Typical Trade Printer," Library, 4th ser. (1929), 143.


"Analytical Bibliography and Shakespeare's Text," MP, LXII (1964), 55.


Stower, The Printer's Grammar (1808), p. 376, makes the point: "Compositors and pressmen are at all times dependent on each other; they therefore demand the constant attention of the overseer [my italics] in order that nothing may occur to cause a stoppage or standing still to either party." In a smaller office this concern for oversight and disposition of the work on hand would naturally have been the master's.


See Table 11, Cambridge University Press, I, 106-7. For Bowyer, see appendix II (e) where, of 14 compositors listed for the two-week period, only one (C. Knell) worked on a single book.


Rules of a London chapel in 1734, printed by Ellic Howe, The London Compositor (1947), p. 31.


The two charts may be compared to those given as Table 15 in The Cambridge University Press. Taken together, the five charts show completely different patterns of work at five distinct stages of a continuous working period of five months, although many of the men and books involved are the same.


Bowers, "Bibliographical Evidence from the Printer's Measure," SB, II (1949-50), 153-67, esp. pp. 155-6: "The most elementary and easily discerned cases which can be determined by measurement occur when . . . printing of a book is so materially interrupted that when work is resumed a different measure is inadvertently employed." See also "Purposes of Descriptive Bibliography, with Some Remarks on Methods", Library, 5th ser. (1953), p. 18 n., and "Underprinting in Mary Pix, The Spanish Wives (1696)," Library, 5th ser. (1954), p. 248. John Smith, The Printer's Grammar (1755), pp. 197-8, suggests other reasons why measures, ostensibly the same, might differ. For Moxon, see Mechanick Exercises, p. 203.


"Notes on Running-Titles as Bibliographical Evidence," Library, 4th ser. (1938), pp. 318-22. In 1909 A. W. Pollard had drawn attention to the recurrent headlines in Folio 2 Henry IV (Shakespeare Folios and Quartos, pp. 134-5).


"The Headline in Early Books," English Institute Annual, 1941 (1942), p. 187.


"The Composition of The Insatiate Countess, Q2," SB, XII (1958), 202.


"The Printing of Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy, Q1 (1619)," SB, XIII (1960), 201; see also pp. 202, 204, 208 for assumptions about timing.


"The Printing of Philaster Q1 and Q2," Library, 5th ser. (1960), p. 22.


Ibid. In the article from which the last three quotations are drawn, Professor Turner suggests that "the erratic time-re-lationship" and therefore the imbalance in the relationship of composition and presswork may reflect variable copy, extra help with distribution, or indicate that "typesetting was attended by serious difficulties" — the textual implications of the latter inference are important.


"Printing Methods and Textual Problems in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Q1," SB, XV (1962), 46.


"The Printers of the Beaumont and Fletcher Folio of 1647, Section 2," SB. XX (1967), 37. Another point of view on this whole question of delay is that of A. K. McIlwraith: "It seems that printers . . . were sometimes willing to interrupt their work for quite a slight cause. This in turn suggests that time was not at a premium, and casts some doubt on any argument which rests on the assumption that speed was economically important." See "Marginalia on Press-corrections," Library, 5th ser. (1950), p. 244.


"Purposes of Descriptive Bibliography," p. 18 n. Elsewhere Professor Bowers brings together in a single sentence many of the considerations raised here: "On the evidence of spelling, only one compositor set (*) B-D, but with about half a normal edition-sheet, he could not have kept up with the press and therefore would not have imposed with two skeleton-formes." — "The Variant Sheets in John Banks's Cyrus the Great, 1696," SB, IV (1951-2), 179.


"Setting by Formes in Quarto Printing," SB, XI (1958), 49. The compositor was unlikely to have been "concerned" at the imbalance, since the reason for it (edition size) was none of his making. It is also salutary to observe that the words 'his press,' as in Professor Turner's article cited in note 38, show the unconscious hardening of assumption into self-evident truth.


"An Examination of the Method of Proof Correction in Lear," Library, 5th ser. (1947), p. 29.


Ibid., p. 28. In "Elizabethan Proofing," Joseph Quincy Adams Memorial Studies (1948), pp. 571-86, Professor Bowers added "I feel that this was the major delay which was circumvented and that a certain reduction possible in the time for press-correction was only a minor consideration." (p. 574).


"Notes on Running-Titles," p. 331. In a later note, Professor Bowers states that "running-titles will almost inevitably reveal simultaneous setting and printing of different portions of a book" — Principles of Bibliographical Description (1949), p. 125.


The Variants in the First Quarto of 'King Lear' (1940), pp. 48-9.


"The First Edition of Your Five Gallants and of Michaelmas Term," Library, 5th ser. (1953), pp. 23, 28. Professor Price believes that Michaelmas Term was printed partly by Purfoote and partly by Allde: "In [its] printing, one skeleton was used for gatherings A and B, two for C-I, one press doing the inner, the other the outer, formes; but for gatherings H and I, the presses twice interchanged the formes" (p. 29).


"Underprinting in The Spanish Wives," p. 254. Each press is said to have printed and perfected its sheet with the one skeleton forme.


"The Textual Relation of Q2 to Q1 Hamlet (I)," SB, VIII (1956), 46. See also "The Printing of Hamlet Q2," SB, VII (1955), 42.


Cantrell and Williams, "Roberts' Compositors in Titus Andronicus Q2" SB, VIII (1956), 28. They add: "The book was printed throughout with one skeleton-forme, and so necessarily on one press . . .".


"The Authorship and Bibliography of The Revenger's Tragedy," Library, 5th ser. (1960), p. 273. Quite apart from the question of skeleton formes, the inference from paper might be queried. It is just as simple to assume that that the heaps were told out by the warehouseman (or boy) from alternate bundles as required for each successive signature. Otherwise it must be assumed that each press knew in advance precisely what proportion of the edition it would print and had on hand all the white paper it would need to complete that work.


Cantrell and Williams, "The Printing of the Second Quarto of Romeo and Juliet (1599)," SB, IX (1957), 107, 113-4.


"Shakespeare's Text and the Bibliographical Method," SB, VI (1954), 79.


Cantrell and Williams, "Roberts' Compositors in Titus Andronicus," p. 28: "The problem of Titus Q2 is further complicated by the fact that in the reprint X and Y did not combine to set their material in a normal pattern for two-compositor work in which each man serves a different press. In fact, the peculiar feature of Titus is that there should be a second compositor at all. The running-title pattern indicates no such second workman" (my italics).


"The Text of Heywood's The Fair Maid of the West," Library, 5th ser. (1967), p. 302. In "The Printing of A King and No King Q1," SB, XVIII (1965), 258, Professor Turner had assumed that a single skeleton printing sheets A-F implied one compositor, and that a second skeleton introduced at G implied another, and quicker, one — although apart from signings there were otherwise "no means to distinguish the work of the two compositors" (n. 12). See also Hinman, Printing and Proof-Reading II, 522 n.l.


In some cases two skeletons, regardless of edition size or speed of composition, may be evidence not of increased speed of production, but of a slower than normal rate of production, simply because it can be a very convenient way of keeping type safely standing whether before or after printing (either to allow of proofing in the sheet, or to defer distribution). Stower, Printer's Grammar, p. 474; "Forms will sometimes remain a considerable length of time before they are put to press."


Ibid., Table 15, but continued below in appendix I (a) and (b).


We might stand to gain clarity if, when discussing changes in the pattern of skeletons, we were to abandon the term "interruption" with its assumptions about timing and its implications of delay. Normally what we are observing is simply a discontinuity.


Printing and Proof-Reading I, 46. See also I, 124 where the same point is made and Professor Hinman cites Moxon: "It is also Customary in some Printing Houses that if the Compositer or Press-man make either the other stand still through the neglect of their contracted Task, that then he who neglected, shall pay him that stands still as much as if he had Wrought." Professor Hinman seems to imply that if a forme were machined in appreciably less time than one could be set the press would stand idle and the compositors would have to reimburse the pressmen. But this can hardly have been so. It was the master's job to worry about these things; Moxon is only concerned with 'neglect' of a 'contracted Task.'


Although I am not really concerned to query Professor Hinman's estimate of the edition size of the Folio, it is possible to offer more precise estimates on costs than either Greg or Willoughby has given. Such a note in itself may be of interest, but my purpose is larger: to show how costing methods current in 1700 can be applied to the 1620's. It so happens that Cantrell Legge the Cambridge printer has left a very detailed "direction to value most Bookes by the charge of the Printer & Stationer. as paper was sould Anno Dni: 1622" (Cambridge University Archives Mss. 33.2.95 and 33.6.8). The Folio contains about 227 sheets. At the highest of Legge's 1622 prices, for paper and printing of the best quality, it would have cost 13s.4d. per ream. For average quality the cost would probably have been nearer, in all, to 10s. or 11s. per ream. At the first of these prices, an edition of 500 copies would have cost £151.6s.8d. to produce; for an edition of 1000 copies the cost would have been £302.13s.4d.; for 1250 copies it would have been £378.6s.8d. Legge indicates that the Stationers' mark-up was usually twice as much again as the prime costs for paper and printing ("So they gaine clearly for euery 12s. laid out 1-5-0 The like proportion you may make of all other english, & forraine bookes"). However many were printed, the unit cost per copy of the Folio, accounting paper and printing at the highest price (13s.4d. per ream printed), would be 6s.od. A normal markup would therefore give a selling price of 18s. (not far off Steevens' £1.os.od.). The maximum possible return therefore to the four partners would be £300 for 500 copies selling at 18s. each; £600 for 1000 copies; and £750 for 1250 copies. These figures are crude, but they are not so wrong as to be irrelevant. If 500 copies were printed, given a two-year printing period, the investment would yield roughly 100% per annum, if 1000 copies were printed it would have been 200% per annum. But since a good proportion of the prime costs would not have had to be met until printing was well advanced, nor the balance paid until after printing had finished, a substantial part of the "investment" monies could have been met from the income from sales. Even the lowest of these returns (on an edition of 500) would have justified the venture. It may also be noted that the amount regularly allowed to retailers was 3s. in the £. ("Notes on Printing at Cambridge," p. 103). It is possible to refine the figures further. Legge priced the best paper at 5s.6d. per ream; printing would therefore have cost 7s.10d. per ream. Gay's contract with Purslowe allowed 8s. per week for 3000 impressions per day; this meant, for a full press, 16s. per week for 18,000 impressions (or 18 reams perfected); this gives a price of roughly 10½d. per ream. Presswork on the Folio might therefore be set at 11d. per ream. Now, applying methods customary in 1700, allowing for correction at one-sixth the rate for composition, and adding the "printer's thirds" for over-heads, the detailed costs of printing may be outlined as follows:

Presswork  11d. 
Composition  3s. 8d. 
Correction  8d. 
5s. 3d. 
Add for overheads  2s. 7d. 
Cost of printing per ream  7s.10d. 
Add cost of paper  5s. 6d. 
Total price for paper and 
printing per ream  13s. 4d. 


Printing and Proof-Reading II, 438. Two skeletons were used in quires F-X, a-b. See also I, 125-6: "One of the most striking facts about the Folio is that only one set of rules appears throughout most of the book; and the continuous use of the same rules can be satisfactorily accounted for only if presswork could keep continuously abreast of composition without difficulty. [A footnote adds: "Otherwise two sets of rules — two 'skeletons' — would almost certainly have been used."] Evidence from rules alone therefore establishes the very strong likelihood that the Folio press regularly worked off one forme as fast as the immediately succeeding forme was set."


Ibid., I, 123. At this point Professor Hinman also writes: "Each successive forme [in 'o'] had been printed off and was ready for distribution by the time compositorial work for the next forme but one was undertaken." The distribution pattern shows that this was so, but I fail to see its relevance to speed of presswork; it simply means that setting did not go forward until the last forme but one was distributed. Professor Hinman mentions the possibility that composition was quite regularly interrupted on the completion of each new forme "to allow the press to catch up" but rejects the idea with the words "of such a practice there is neither evidence nor any shadow of likelihood" (my italics). The same sequence may be followed at variable speeds.


Ibid., I, 75. At I, 153 we find: "Whether one or two skeletons were used in such a book probably depended upon the composition-presswork relationship." See also I, 28 n.l, 49, 364; II, 490-1, 524.


Ibid., I, 123. See also I, 49: ". . . one compositor (and hence, it may be added, two or more compositors setting alternately; for this would amount to much the same thing) . . .". One should add that even without prejudice to the main thesis of balanced work on the Folio alone, Professor Hinman's masterly account of the work done on the Folio concurrently with other books makes it quite clear that a 'norm' of concurrent printing, as shown for the 1700's or 1730's, also applied to the 1620's.


Ibid., I, 74 n.2. The demonstration referred to is, I think, that given at I, 123-4; see note 63 above.


"Setting by Formes in Quarto Printing," p. 42. The second quarto referred to is The First Part of The Contention (1594).


"The Printing of Philaster," p. 22. See also "Printing Methods in A Midsummer Night's Dream" where Professor Turner argues that if type from B(o) is found in both formes of sheet C, and type from B(i) is found only in part of C(i), and if type from C(o) is found in both formes of D, and type from C(i) is found only in D(i), then, "when type reappears in this manner, composition cannot have been seriatim" (p. 36). The following remarks make it clear that Professor Turner means cannot have been seriatim "without press delays." The fundamental argument is not bibliographical in the sense that Professor Hinman's is.


"The Printing of A King and No King," p. 258. See also, in "Printing Methods in A Midsummer Night's Dream," Professor Turner's suggestion that "It seems likely that the compositor, working on the assumption that composition and press-work could stay more or less in balance, originally intended to follow the conventional procedure for setting by formes — to compose two formes, distribute the first, set the third, distribute the second, [set the fourth] and so on." (p. 46).


"Shakespeare's Texts — Then, Now and Tomorrow," SS, XVIII (1965), 31. It is also pointed out there that, before Richard II, "no first quarto has hitherto yielded such entirely conclusive evidence of setting by formes as the Folio does throughout" (p. 28).


See Turner, "Printing Methods in A Midsummer Night's Dream," p. 39: "By itself the testimony of shortage is, I believe, less reliable than any other bibliographical technique."


Printer's Grammar, index. See also Moxon, Mechanick Exercises, p. 239: "Counting or Casting off Copy . . . is to examine and find how much either of Printed Copy will Come-in into any intended number of Sheets of a different Body or Measure from the Copy; or how much Written Copy will make an intended number of Sheets of any assigned Body and Measure."


"Cast-off Copy for the First Folio of Shakespeare," SQ, VI (1953), 259-73.


Another theory that one should like to have some external evidence for is that which closely associates a compositor with a particular set of type cases. Professor Hinman offers a very fine discussion of the question and has much contributory evidence for identifying compositors from type-groupings where distinctive spellings are lacking. See also Turner, "Reappearing Types," pp. 200-3. I have not examined Cambridge or Bowyer books for evidence of this kind.


So Richardson, advising Oxford to do "as the London Printers do, reckon at the rate of 2d in the shilling for the Press Correctors, of what is paid the Compositors." — quoted by I. G. Philip, Blackstone and the Reform of the Oxford University Press (1957), p. 40.


The Shakespeare First Folio (1955), p. 464.


All the statement means is that some evidence of correction has survived; it leaves quite open the possibility that invariant formes already embody corrections, and that even where formes are variant the 'uncorrected' states may be intermediate ones.


Instances of an 'uncorrected' state surviving in a single copy point to the dangers we run if we too readily equate invariant formes with uncorrected ones. The 'uncorrected' states, being earlier, are likely to be fewer and in most cases may have disappeared completely. In "A Proof-sheet in An Humorous Day's Mirth (1599) printed by Valentine Sims," Library, 5th ser (1966), pp. 155-7, A. Yamada notes that "out of fifteen copies examined, the Bute copy alone retains the uncorrected readings on the outer forme of G, and all the other copies have the forme in the corrected state." (p. 155). Of twenty copies of Tailor's The Hogge hath lost his Pearle (1614), only one has inner and outer E in their 'uncorrected' states.


Stower said that it should be "an invariable rule" to demand a second revise, "particularly with foul compositors, as no sort of dependence can be placed on them" (Printer's Grammar, p. 382).


Quoted by K. Povey, "Variant Formes in Elizabethan Printing," Library, 5th ser. (1955), p. 42.


A useful reference list is given in Tanselle, "Press Figures in America," p. 126 notes 10 and 11.


See Todd, "Observations on . . . Press Figures," SB, III (1950-51), 173.


Savage, Dictionary of the Art of Printing (1841), p. 814.


"William Somervile's 'The Chace,' 1735," loc. cit.


Cambridge University Press, I, 125, but see also I, 131 n.1, and Tanselle, "Press Figures in America," p. 127 n.13.


"Of Text and Type," Times Literary Supplement, 24 Feb. 1966, pp. 233-5.


Proof-Reading in the Sixteenth, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (1935), p. 46.


Greg, A Companion to Arber (1967), p. 26. I shall normally cite Greg's calendar instead of the originals.


Arber, Transcript of the Registers of the Stationers' Company, I, 248.


Greg, Companion, pp. 52-3. This point is made time and again. Wood's petition of 1621 makes it clear that even of those with presses some were rich and some were poor: "the rich men of the Company by the power of their ordinances, dispose of all things in priuilege to their owne perticular benefits for the most part, and the poore Masters, and Iourney-men Printers haue little, and some of them no worke at all from the Company . . ." (Greg, Companion, p. 170). Lownes, Purfoote, Jaggard and Beale — "those foure rich Printers" — are most complained against for the privileges they hold and the punitive actions they can take against offendors, empowered as they are both by ordinance and their high position in the Company.


Jackson, Records of the Court of the Stationers' Company, p. 75.


Jackson, p. 169. The search uncovered a press operated by George Woods; it was dismantled. Woods of course had no right to a press at all.


Plant, The English Book Trade (1939), p. 84; Howe, London Compositor, p. 33.


Plomer, A Short History of English Printing, 1476-1900 (1915), pp. 185-8; Howe (p. 33) gives the figure as 35.


Ibid., pp. 132-3. Professor Todd states that "By the end of the eighteenth century the personnel of the trade numbered no less than 2815" ("Observations on . . . Press Figures," p. 179). But this figure relates to 1818, not to the previous century, and its user implies that the number of master printers had virtually doubled in the previous 10 years — see Howe, p. 132.


"The Distribution of Almanacks in the Second Half of the Seventeenth Century," SB, XI (1958), 107-16.


The articles of 1635 (Greg, Companion, pp. 94-5) were still being ignored in 1637 (Ibid., p. 102). The trouble was partly that their enforcement was left to the men whose interests they were least calculated to advance. So one finds the journeymen continuing to complain that the orders of 1586-7 and those of 1635 had not been fulfilled and pleading that they be recorded in some court of justice so that they could be sued upon before a competent judge (Ibid., p. 326). The complaints come to a head again in 1645.


Collected Papers, pp. 76-77, 222-3, 240. The arguments from expediency given in The Times Literary Supplement during August-September 1966 seem to me to be beside the point.