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The Compositors of Shakespeare's Folio Comedies by T. H. Howard-Hill
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Page 61

The Compositors of Shakespeare's Folio Comedies
T. H. Howard-Hill

Of the fourteen plays printed in the Comedies section of the First Folio, only four were reprints of previously published quarto editions. For the remaining ten texts which were set up from manuscript copy, it is important therefore to discover how they were affected by the four compositors known to have set them in type. Little is understood of the habits, capacities and accuracy of these compositors: most work has been done on compositor B, virtually nothing on C and D, and compositor A of the comedies to Winter's Tale is not, as I shall show, the compositor A of the histories and later, familiar to editors mainly from the writings of Dr. Alice Walker. No attempt to study the influence of compositors on substantive readings can succeed unless the parts of the text which each compositor set are correctly assigned. The best kind of evidence useful to distinguish one compositor from another is supplied when the compositor is least influenced by the orthography of his copy, and it follows from this that evidence resting to any extent on what a compositor may or may not have done with the inferred forms of copy which does not exist, under conditions which can only be guessed at and never reproduced, is less likely to be good evidence. It is unfortunate, therefore, that compositor identification in the Folio has depended perforce mainly on this latter kind of evidence, particularly the testimony of spellings.

In the following paper fresh attributions of pages of the Folio are made from combinations of evidence. This includes the compositors' various habits of spacing after commas in short lines, and at the ends of lines, their typographical arrangement of turned-over verse lines, their preferences in dealing with 'll and th' elisions, and some fairly common spellings supplementing the familiar do, go, and here. The evidence of dashes and catchwords is shown to be of small value in the


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comedies, but the new criteria are so generally helpful that there are few pages in the comedies for which the compositors can now be held to be uncertain.

There has been some disagreement about the identification of the compositors of later texts in the Folio, but Hinman's conclusions on the compositors of the comedies have recently been discussed only in an article by Professor A. S. Cairncross which appeared after my own investigations were completed.[1] I propose here to decide the attribution of pages about which Hinman was in doubt and to question some other of his identifications with the aid of fresh evidence which was not available to him before 1963. I should therefore briefly describe the kinds of evidence that compositor study of the Folio has drawn upon and give some account of the evidence I have used here.

It is not necessary to give details of the early work of Satchell and Willoughby, who mainly used spellings to distinguish between compositors, and the work of Hinman before 1963, because this is already incorporated in Printing and Proof-Reading and in Alice Walker's highly-commended Textual Problems of the First Folio.[2] She listed spellings which could be used to identify pages set by compositors A and B, and other spellings they tended to use.[3] Many of these spellings have been tested and approved by later investigators and A and B can usually be readily identified in the Folio by the criteria she supplied. There remains some doubt, however, about particular pages in which the evidence is scanty, and it is conceivable, since she worked from WT onwards, that compositor A of the early comedies is not the A of the histories and tragedies.[4] It is not always easy to use spellings, which of course provide linguistic rather than bibliographical evidence, for, without precise knowledge of the spellings of the copy from which the compositors set their Folio pages, it is hard to identify their shares of texts printed from manuscript copy of unknown character.

However, Miss Walker, in common with later investigators, drew upon evidence of a more strictly bibliographical kind. She observed:


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Compositor B's pages have a much trimmer look than A's, partly because his tendency was to avoid turn-overs in verse by arranging a single line as two lines and partly because he set his marginal directions for exits and so on full out unless he was hurried; whereas compositor A had less prejudice against verse turn-overs and inset his stage directions irregularly. Compositor A's pages have therefore a less well-groomed appearance than B's. Another difference is that when a speech terminated with the end of a page, A generally set as catchword both the speech prefix and the first word (or an abbreviation of the first word) of the next speech; B normally set as catchword the speech prefix only.[5]
The compositors were further distinguished by their use of parentheses and italics. Similar kinds of evidence were used in other studies of single texts. Although these confirmed her criteria, they did not significantly add to them. Greater advance was made by Hinman who, having already identified an apprentice compositor (E) who usually set from quarto copy in the Folio,[6] distinguished two more Folio compositors, C and D. One of his main aims in Printing and Proof-Reading was to show precisely how work on the Folio was shared amongst Jaggard's compositors. From evidence of type recurrence, changes in box-rule arrangement, running-title irregularities, page-numbering errors and similar bibliographical peculiarities, he determined the order in which the formes of type were composed, printed and distributed into the type-cases. Study of distribution evidence enabled him to show how many sets of type-cases were in use at any one time, and therefore, how many compositors were at work. Individual compositors normally worked at the same case and so knowledge of the case used in the composition of a passage of text usually suggested which compositor set it. Obviously, if two type-cases were in use together, the text set from them was most likely to have been set by two different compositors since it was impractical for them to set simultaneously from a single case. Occasionally, two compositors shared a page, and when, as in I5, distinctive types from different type-cases were found in a single page (usually in separate columns), spelling evidence revealed who the compositors were. Generally, however, knowledge of which compositors had worked from the respective cases in other pages of the quire was sufficient to identify the compositors of shared pages. However, at other times, a compositor who usually worked at one case would move to another to share the composition


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of a page with a compositor setting from his habitual case. Page bb3v was shared by compositors A and B, setting from A's case x; page mm4 was shared by B and A who set from B's case y. When this occurred, and there is reason to believe that it happened more often than Hinman was able to detect, case evidence alone could not distinguish the compositors. Identifications were made principally (with such other minor criteria as dashes and catchwords) from the evidence of spellings. Spelling evidence again was generally all that showed Hinman that another compositor had set a single page in a quire quite regularly shared by two other compositors.

Hinman's work is all the more admirable when one appreciates that the spellings he used to distinguish the five compositors of the Folio were the spelling variants of only three words: 'do', 'go' and 'here'. Although from time to time he referred to Alice Walker's A and B spellings, this was most often merely to confirm an identification made primarily on the evidence of 'do/go/here'. These are the only words of variable spelling which occur often enough in most pages of the Folio for distinct compositorial habits to be seen. The habitual or preferred spellings of the four main Folio compositors were found to be:

  • A: doe, goe, here
  • B: do, go, here
  • C: doe, goe, heere
  • D: doe, goe, here, but also do and go when (by assumption) they were in his copy.[7]
The features of this table which contribute to the difficulty of Folio compositor identification leap to the eye. When 'here' does not occur often in the text (there are many pages from which it is absent), compositors A, C and D are indistinguishable. Similarly, when 'do' and 'go' are infrequent, B and C cannot readily be distinguished by these spellings alone.[8] Moreover, compositor D's preferences are identical with A's and, although Hinman characterises D as a compositor who would reproduce a few 'do' or 'go' spellings from his copy, unless he did this, and unless 'do' and 'go' were in his copy, these spellings cannot distinguish him from A. It is possible therefore that compositor


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D may be found to have set pages of the Folio, from copy in which 'doe' and 'goe' were the only spellings of these words, which have hitherto been assigned to compositor A.

It is also useful to know how tolerant of their non-habitual spellings the compositors were (or, alternatively, how strongly they preferred one spelling to the other) since A and D could not be separated if A was equally prone to accept 'do' and 'go' from copy. A's preferences in the comedies are strongly defined and contrary spellings are infrequent. Compositor C on the other hand was more inclined to mix his spellings: he will tolerate 'here', and 'do/go' but not generally to the extent that he can be mistaken for D. Compositor D is fairly intolerant of 'heere' and this serves to distinguish him from C when they were setting together from copy with prevalent 'do/go' spellings.[9]

From considerations such as these and his close analysis of the Folio composition and press-work, Hinman assigned 48 pages to compositor A, 121 to B, 58 to C, and 28 to compositor D, of the 302 printed pages of the comedies. There were six pages in which compositors shared. The available evidence did not permit him to be certain about the compositors of 41 other pages although often, when he indicated alternatives, his first suggestion was, by my analysis, correct.[10]

The general principle can be suggested that in circumstances such as prevailed in Jaggard's printing-house, where the compositors were not expected to conform to rigid practices or house rules, the best kind of evidence for distinguishing compositors would be typographical, such as the case evidence Hinman used, or 'psychomechanical', such as varying practices in centering or arrangement of stage-directions, or the setting of dashes.[11] Often, however, these features are as scanty as characteristic spellings and sometimes they are not found on the pages where their testimony would be of greatest use. Typographical evidence may be affected by 'outside' influences such as the printing of non-Folio matter which caused the migration of types and even of compositors under circumstances that can only be guessed at. Psychomechanical evidence is affected by characteristic human fallibility or inconsistency. Compositor B's practice of putting the speech-prefix alone in catchwords is exceptionally consistent. Even so, it points to another intrinsic limitation of the kinds of evidence on which compositor


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identification must most often draw: when the evidence is binary, that is, when there are only two ways in which a compositor could deal with a matter (such as putting the speech-prefix alone in the catch-word, or the speech-prefix and the first word or part word of the following speech), the characteristic will still only distinguish two compositors, even if it is adhered to consistently. When as in the comedies, there are four compositors (at least) and all but compositor B are inconsistent, this characteristic on a page has little or no value as evidence, however satisfying it might be to confirm an identification made primarily from other evidence. A clear distinction, furthermore, must be made between evidence which enables the compositor of a page to be identified with reasonable confidence, and evidence which tends merely to confirm the identification or to describe the habits of that compositor. The pertinence of these comments will be seen clearly in the ensuing discussion of the kinds of evidence other than spellings which I have used for the identification of the compositors in the comedies.

Spacing Evidence

Considerable aid has been obtained from observations of the compositors' habits of spacing commas at the end of lines of text, and inside short lines. There can be no doubt that the four compositors had different spacing habits which were habitual and distinctive: these practices usually confirm Hinman's compositor identifications. Even a facsimile of the Folio shows that some commas inside lines are followed by spaces, and that some are followed closely by the first letter of the next word: illustration of this is not necessary.[12] If there were any reason to doubt this, perhaps on the ground that different sorts were irregularly centered on the body of the type, the instances of inked spaces and quads which I have noticed in the Folio would confirm that internal spacing in short lines is a real and not an imaginary phenomenon. There is an inked space after a comma in a short line at Jn. 1970 and with commas in long lines at AWW 428 and Jn. 2207, and before a colon in a short line at TN 1324. Other interesting examples occur at Wiv. 2600, TN 1771 and R2 1074 where only one space of the two which must have been used has inked.[13] A wider space can be seen at the end of 1H6 1724.


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The proportions of spaced commas to non-spaced commas have been tabulated in the appendices.[14] Compositor B was the most regular in preferring to use spaces, and non-spaced commas are relatively infrequent in his pages. They sometimes occur, as will shortly be seen, in special circumstances. Compositor C also prefers to space commas but in this, as in many other practices, he is not consistent; his pages show many more commas without spaces than appear in B's pages. Usually but not always the relative proportions are sufficient to distinguish B from C but of course it is rare that spacing is the only evidence available to decide between them. Compositors A and D prefer not to space their commas, D's habit being more strongly marked. However, it is worthy of notice here that the spacing practice of A in the histories and WT is more like that of D in its preference not to space commas, and that A in the comedies apart from WT is sometimes inexplicably inconsistent in his practice from page to page.

Although the counts of spaced commas amply confirm this general description of the compositors' habits, this evidence is sometimes of limited use. The number of commas, although they are usually frequent, sometimes varies considerably from page to page. Many pages have few short lines and so the count of spaced commas provides small guide to compositor identification. Consequently, on a particular page it may be impractical to rely on this evidence to distinguish between A and D who did not favour internal spacing, and B and C who did. Further, sometimes there are anomalies for which it is difficult to account. It may readily be supposed that a compositor who had almost exhausted the supply of spaces in his type-case when justifying passages of prose might be obliged to relinquish his preference for spacing in short lines. This might explain why sometimes there is a surprisingly small number of spaces in some pages set by B or C.[15] Or, on the other hand, a compositor such as A or D who preferred close spacing might in a similar situation be led to use more spaces than usual in short


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lines after he had become accustomed to setting them in justified lines. This might explain why compositor A in A5v, which is mainly justified prose (with wide internal spacing after punctuation marks) has 20 spaced commas in short lines to 3 non-spaced.[16] It might also happen that the supply of spaces was depleted when non-Folio matter was set; irregularities of spacing practices might occur as such material was distributed back into the case which was being used for the Folio. When C's share of quires O, P, Q and R are studied in the order of composition, he is seen to depart from his preference for spaces after commas for sequences of pages in an order which might be explained in this way. Fortunately there is usually other evidence to show compositor C in these quires, despite the inconsistent evidence of the spaces.

In the pages of King John which Hinman assigns to compositor C (a1-2v, a5-b4) there is a large number of commas at the ends of short lines which are preceded by spaces. There are 25 on a1v alone. These commas are more widely spaced than the spaced terminal commas which occasionally occur on pages set by the other compositors, and they are quite characteristic of C. Inked spaces before terminal commas can be seen at TGV 531 and MND 1166. As such spaced terminal commas are absent from a3-4v which Hinman assigned to B or alternatively to C, his first attribution is the more likely to be correct. The number of such commas varies considerably from page to page, usually on account of long lines or because there were not many terminal commas (C did not space every comma at the end of a short line), but occasionally justified lines which extend to the full width of the column show widely spaced commas at the end of the line. As these are not often found in prose passages set by other compositors, they may be used with spaced terminal commas in short lines to support attribution of pages to compositor C. There are occasional instances of spaced terminal commas in pages which were clearly set by other compositors (e.g., at l. 1576 on E2, set by B), but, as the tables below show, they are undoubtedly characteristic of C. When, therefore, they have been observed on pages attributed to other compositors, I have taken this as a warning that such pages need especially close examination. I have not allowed this evidence to outweigh the testimony of spellings and the other evidence which will be discussed shortly. In fact, spacing evidence is consistent overall with the spellings and compositor identifications of Hinman and Miss Walker, and this shows that it gives good evidence for compositor identification in the Folio.


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Some tables will illustrate the different compositorial spacing habits, and the nature of the evidence which I have been able to apply to doubtful pages. In Jn., which was set by C and B, the distribution of internal and terminal spaced commas in an equal number of pages set from case y is:

Spacing in 'King John'[17]

Page  Terminal spaced,  Medial spaced,  Non-spaced,  Page  Terminal spaced,  Medial spaced,  Non-spaced, 
a1  24  10  a3  48 
1v   25:1j  32  27  3v   40 
25  31  14  42 
2v   23  24  18  4v   42 
12  51  14  b1  47 
5v   13:1j  47  15  1v   65 
11  51  18  50 
6v   21  42  15  2v   61 
b3v   15  22  13  53 
27  38  4v   51 
177:2  362  151  499  41 
A glance at this table shows that although both B and C are alike in preferring to insert spaces after commas, B's habit is much stronger than C's and he rarely uses a space with a terminal comma.

A group of A's pages from the early comedies, excluding pages with large amounts of prose, and anomalous pages such as B3v and 4v shows how his habit differs from C's.

Compositor A's Spacing[18]

Page  Term. #,  Med. #,  Non sp.  Page  Term. #,  Med. #,  Non sp. 
A1v   10  49  A2  61 
B1  19  40  2v   35  10 
1v   17  58  B2  54  12 
20  30  2v   43  15 
5v   19  48  52  11 
C4v   20  40  21 
49  6v   33 
5v   12  31  C2v   12  25  21 
15  43  39  18 
6v   14  39  3v   8:1  38  23 
152  427  52:1  401  125 


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Here, plainly, A does not prefer to use spaces after commas, and his habit is the converse of C's. The spaced terminal commas in A's pages are not found in such relative profusion in later A pages, and few of them have the wide spacing that is so characteristic of C.

A selection of pages set from case z, including those that Hinman used to prove that there was a fourth compositor in the Folio comedies,[19] illustrates the spacing practice of compositor D. Here, however, I must admit pages with large numbers of long lines, in order to make up a sufficiently large selection.[20] Contrasting pages set by C show also how prose affected his usual practice of spacing commas: it demonstrates that nevertheless he can be identified by spaced terminal commas.

Compositor D's Spacing

Page  Term. #,  Med. #,  Non sp.  Page  Term. #,  Med. #,  Non sp. 
*K2v   12  *K1  10  11 
* 5v   1j  43  * 1v   23  27 
* 6  18  *L1  29  25 
L2  17  1v   14  19  18 
* 4v   20  3v   10:1  17  12 
* 5  45  10  25  10 
5v   29  *N2  13  20 
24  15  19  25 
* 6v   12  3v   11  38  27 
N4  39  5v   16  34  31 
* 4v   10  27  *O1  16 
1j  31  * 1v   25  30 
75  * 2  25  14 
6v   48  2v   11  36  46 
2j  79  440  132:1  330  302 
Compositor D's preference for close spacing is stronger than A's, and he is more consistent. Sometimes, however, it is not possible by this evidence alone to distinguish them in pages with many long lines.

Were spacing the sole evidence by which compositors could be identified, it would not be very helpful even though there would be little difficulty in distinguishing C from B when C used his characteristic spaced terminal commas. Taken with other peculiarities, however, it is useful evidence, especially when discriminating spellings are scanty or ambiguous. Page H2v in Err. has 2 'do', 4 'doe' and 3 'here' spellings: one of the 'here' is a rhyme and another occurs in a long line. The spacing, however, shows that this page was set by C and not


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by D to whom Hinman assigned it, mainly on account of the 'do' spellings. Another page in Err. with scanty and mixed spellings is H4 of which the spacing is, column a: 6/15/7; column b: 0/11/17.[21] This evidence is entirely consistent with the habits of compositors C and D.

Hinman occasionally referred to A's habit of representing dashes by two or three hyphens. This is not helpful evidence in the comedies, for the only occurrence of this kind of dash before WT is on D4 which Hinman and Miss Walker assign to C; this is supported by spacing evidence (1:1/13/9). Two short dashes are found in A's D3v, but dashes are not good evidence in the comedies, for none occurs in D's pages and both B and C prefer to set a dash by a long rule. Nor can catchwords which give the speech-prefix or the speech-prefix and the first word of the speech, supply clear-cut evidence. Compositors A and B in the histories are distinguished by their almost invariable practices, A for giving the first word of the speech, B for omitting it. But in the comedies, although B's habit is uniform, there are five pages on which A omits the first word of the speech out of 11 with this kind of catchword. C's practice is inconsistent (22 with the speech word, 11 without) but D almost always provides it: out of 19 pages, only on G1 is the speech word omitted from the catchword.

There is another compositorial practice which sometimes helps to identify the compositor of a page. There are occasions on which compositors, obliged to turn over a line of verse which was too long for their measure, and unable or unwilling to set it as a turn-down or turn-up at the right margin of the column, have carried the remaining part of the line on to the next line. Often these have been indented from the left-hand margin. Lines 2658-9 on A's G5v (the only occurrence of this in his pages) is an instance. What is remarkable about this is that it is infrequent in the pages of A and C (with whom D is most likely to be confused) and relatively frequent in the pages of B and D. One might expect that over a large number of pages set by the respective compositors the number of occasions on which they encountered long lines of verse requiring to be turned over would be roughly equal. To WT, however, the figures are:

Indented Turn-overs

PAGES  14  20 


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It is therefore more likely than not that any page with more than one such indented turn-over was set by compositor D, and it is very unlikely to have been set by A or C.—This evidence, together with spellings, was employed to re-examine Hinman's compositor attributions in the comedies. Also helpful was the different compositorial treatment of 'will' and 'shall' elisions (we'll, they'le, sheel and so on), especially as knowledge of Ralph Crane's spellings made it possible to allow for the influence on the compositors of copy in his handwriting.[22] There were also contrasting orthographies of 'the' elisions in i'th, o'th' and the like which served to distinguish compositors. The occurrence of this evidence is mentioned when necessary and may be consulted in the appendices.

After the first form of this paper, in my thesis, was finished, Professor Cairncross's discussion of the compositors (largely in the comedies) came to hand; this offered the possibility of a stringent check on the methods and conclusions set out here. Mr. Cairncross is concerned mainly with C and D. To distinguish them he uses, besides the familiar spellings, the evidence of the future elisions (wee'll, they'll, etc.), the layout of run-on stage-directions, and the setting of 'fareyouwell' as one word for compositor C; for D, the future elisions (weele, theyle, etc.), -ie or -aie endings, and 'the dropping of final l, as in cal, fal, wil'. He confirms or changes Hinman's tentative attributions for 66 pages of the Folio up to sig. V. By my analysis, Cairncross is correct for all but 28 pages, although not often on the basis of the evidence he brings forward. It would be tedious to discuss every point of difference page by page but, undoubtedly, it is important to examine the kinds of evidence he has drawn upon and the way in which it has been used: nothing which leads towards certainty in these studies should be neglected.

Mr. Cairncross distinguishes C from B by C's practice of indenting a two- or three-line stage direction by two or three ems; B centers the following lines after the first.[23] Compositor C is clearly partial to this kind of arrangement and there is nothing new about this. What is new is the extent to which Mr. Cairncross is prepared to take the occurrence of the indented stage direction as a sign of C's hand without the support of other evidence. Also, the value of his paper is seriously


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compromised by his reluctance to notice evidence which does not support his conclusions. For example, compositor C's kind of indented layout may be seen in stage directions on A1 and I3 (together with a B-type centered direction)[24] and I3, and in the letter on G2v, which are all B pages; other indented directions occur on A5 (A), B1 (A) where there are 3 indented and 1 centered direction, and H3v (my compositor D). As for compositor C, there are centered directions on C2v, G4, H2 and K4v which he reassigns to C, and on P4v. Mr. Cairncross, observing that C disappears from F after Jn., concludes that 'An important negative result of the new criteria is the elimination of Compositor C from quires d-gg . . . and t-x . . . oo and pp. . . . C's run-on stage directions are also absent.'[25] but this is not supported by C-type indented SD on d1v (Hinman's B?C but B from the evidence of spacing), l3v (B), n1 (A), p2v (A), t6, t6v, v2 (all C?A), x1v (B), x3, x4 (C?A), aa2v (B), aa3v, cc4 Gg2v, Gg3v oo6, xx5, yy2, bbb2v, bbb3, bbb3v (all B). The elisions are in general good evidence of C's hand and so too is 'fareyouwell', although again, Mr. Cairncross omits to mention an instance of this on P2, which he reassigns from A to D.[26]

With the help of such evidence Mr. Cairncross transfers 22 pages in sigs. F, G, H, I and K from compositor A or D to C;[27] in the same pages I find the hands of four compositors. The relative likelihood of Mr. Cairncross's or my attributions being correct should appear more clearly from the following discussion. It needs to be mentioned here however that his 'new' evidence is distributed very sparsely indeed throughout these pages. For instance, in F2, F3v, F6v, G1v and G2, the first 5 pages he discusses, there are elisions in long lines on F2, F3v, G1v, no new evidence at all on F6v, but G2 at last provides a single elision in a short line. On G5v the sole evidence adduced for reassignment to C is 2 F-type elisions. Only on two pages (H3v, I4v) does more than one kind of new evidence support reattribution.

Mr. Cairncross's discussion of the evidence from which pages were confirmed or reassigned to compositor D is seriously inadequate. The elisions, as I found, are good evidence. For D's spellings of -ie and -aie and 'l/ll no statistics at all are given. In fact, when one surveys 5 pages (O5v, O6, T5, V3 and V3v) which he attributes (correctly) to D,


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there are 86 -ie/aie to 70 -y/ay spellings and, mysteriously, only 2 -l spellings in long lines to 113 -ll forms.[28] In P1-3v which he assigns to D, the proportion of -ie/aie to -y/ay spellings favours only his attribution of P3v, and in the same 6 pages, there is only one -l spelling, and that is in a long line. On P4 however, there are 5 -l spellings, but this page was unquestionably set by C. Neither of these spelling tests then can on this showing be used to characterise D, and Mr. Cairncross's D evidence reduces to the elisions. It is not surprising, therefore, that he was not able to detect the alternation of C and D in H1-4 which he reassigned to C.—To conclude, I have re-examined all the reattributions discussed in the following pages and I have found no reason to alter any of them in light of Mr. Cairncross's observations.

Compositor Attributions

In dividing the composition of the comedies amongst the four compositors, most heed has been paid to the printing evidence and spellings set out by Hinman. Although I have questioned several of his attributions, there is none, I believe, which contradicts the spellings. The best test of the correctness of these attributions will be when the spellings of the individual compositors are studied en masse. I hope to work on such a descriptive study later. In the meantime it is enough to know which pages of the Folio comedies were set by which compositor.

The attributions which are questioned or confirmed are these:

Hinman's Compositor Attributions Questioned or Confirmed

Text/p.  Hinman  Hill  Text/p.  Hinman  Hill 
Tmp. B4  A?C  I5a   A?C 
TGV C(?)  5v   A?C 
6v   C(?)  A?C 
Wiv. D2v   A?C  6v   A?C 
5v   ?(C)  K1  C?A 
6v   ?(C)  1v   C?A 
E3  C?A 
6v   B?D  A?C 
MM F1  A?  C+D  3v   A?C 
1v   D+C  4v   A?C 
C+D  A?C 
3v   LLL M1  C?A 
1v   C?A 
4v   C?A 
C+D  2v   C?A 
6v   D+C  C?A 


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G1  B+D  3v   C?A 
1v   D?  MV O5  A?D 
D+C  5v   A?D 
D?  C+F  A?D 
4v   D?  F+C  6v   A?D 
F+C  A?D 
6v   A?  2v   A?D 
Err. H1  D? 
1v   D?  C+D  A?D 
D?  D+C  3v   A?D 
2v   Shr. T5 
D?  C+D  5v  
Ado. I3v   6v  
A?C  AWW V3 
4v   A?C  3v  
I am not as confident about every one of these attributions as the absence of interrogation marks would indicate, but the ensuing discussion will show where doubt exists. Before these pages are discussed, there are a few minor remarks on the table which might be made. The number of pages shared by two compositors in the early comedies is consistent with Hinman's account of the printing of this part of the Folio, but his suggestion that distribution irregularities indicate that compositor D was involved in the setting needs some modification: the distribution of quires F, G, and H was irregular, not because D was present but because so many of the pages were shared by two compositors.[29] Compositor D seems to have been a cuckoo in Jaggard's printing-house and was comfortably accommodated (in the printing of the Folio, at least) only when he was given his own type-case, z, first seen in quire K. The effect of these reattributions is to diminish A's share of the comedies and to increase the importance of C and D. As these compositors set little if any of the Folio after Jn., editors of the early comedies must pay particular attention to their characteristics.[30]

Summaries of Evidence

I do not propose to discuss here the pages for which Hinman's identifications are acceptable. The evidence used is set out summarily


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in tables for each text printed as appendices; these include concise figures for spacing. When 'do/go/here' evidence is ambiguous, and even when it is plentiful, it is best to use all the discriminatory spellings for a particular text that can be found. In practice, however, 'do/go/here/indeed/mistress' were the only discriminants which occurred frequently enough throughout the comedies to be useful. After the comedies had been examined for the presence of these spellings, and other potentially discriminating spellings such as Miss Walker's A and B spellings, I surveyed the distribution of a miscellaneous selection of other spellings. These were 'deed' (since 'indeed' was characteristic of C, 'indeede' of the other compositors), 'doe't/ doo't/do't', and the more common elisions, 'a'th'/by'th'/i'th'/o'th'/ to'th' and 'hee'l/shee'l/they'l/you'l' and their variant spellings. The results of this investigation, which revealed different compositorial practices confirming the attributions already made from the main evidence, is set out in a table in the appendices.[31] This evidence is incorporated in the summaries of compositorial practices in the individual comedies which are also printed as appendices.[32]

In Tmp. the spacing confirms Hinman's attributions except for B4 which is more likely to have been set by C than A: the presence of 'heere' gives strong support to this identification.[33] On B3v the spacing is not in accord with A's usual practice but the three 'here' spellings, and the spelling 'indeede' which C rarely uses, do not allow this page to be assigned to C. For TGV I have had the help of a table compiled by Miss Walker for the Oxford Old-Spelling Shakespeare. Her spelling evidence and the spacing confirm Hinman's division of this text between compositors A and C. He was doubtful about assigning B6 and B6v to C but the spacing shows him to have been correct.

In Wiv., where again I have benefited from an analysis of the composition by Miss Walker, the spellings of all the B pages save E1 and E6 are supported by the spacing evidence. These two pages contain many long lines which have probably disturbed B's customary preference for spaced commas inside lines.[34] Page E6, over which Hinman was in doubt, can certainly be assigned to B for it shows seven instances of 'Mr' without a point, B's almost invariable spelling. B's pages apart, spellings do not always distinguish the contributions of A and C, the other compositors of Wiv., as there is much prose and C's distinctive


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'heere' is liable to be affected by the need to justify. He was in any case apt to accept 'here' from his copy. The spellings suggest that A set D3, D3v, E3 and E5 although the only 'here' of E3 is in a long line. However, the spacing evidence is consistent with these identifications. The spacing evidence, particularly the spaced terminal commas, similarly confirms the attributions from spelling evidence of D2, D2v (which Hinman had assigned to A), and D4-6v to compositor C.

The compositors of MM and Err. are much more difficult to distinguish and I must devote more space to discussion of their problems. According to Hinman, compositor D is encountered for the first time in MM where supporting evidence from the order of printing is almost totally lacking. Hinman found that compositor C set F2v where alone there is a clear preference for the speech-prefix 'Isa.', with doe and goe, compositor B set five pages, F5v, F6, G2v, G3 and G3v, and the remaining pages of quires F and G were set by A and D, their stints being separated by D's tolerance of 'do' and 'go' when it occurred in copy. Hinman commented:

we cannot here adduce the combined evidence of types and spellings. In several quires in this section of the Folio (and in some, alas, that raise very tricky identification problems), such attributions to particular compositors as we make will for the most part have to be based upon spelling peculiarities alone.[35]
In these quires there are many 'do/go' spellings, and 'here' occurs so frequently throughout that it is very likely to have occurred frequently in the copy for MM (and, indeed, in the texts which precede it in the Folio). In order to assign pages to D, Hinman assumed that 'do' and 'go' were also present in the copy, which is probable enough, and he drew upon the evidence of D's relative tolerance of these spellings which he had observed when establishing the presence of a fourth compositor in the Folio.[36] However, in order to give F1v, F6v, G1v, G4 and G4v to compositor D, he had to allow him eleven 'heere' spellings as against only four 'here's. 'Here' is the spelling which distinguishes D from compositor C, so on his own showing, Hinman's compositor identifications are hardly satisfactory. They would have been more persuasive had D been setting from his case z, but that case, with the assumption that a new compositor had joined in work on the Folio, is not seen until quire K where also Hinman identified compositor D.

As the customary spellings are inadequate, it is necessary to draw upon a wider range of evidence. Other compositorial practices


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described earlier offer helpful support in some pages, but no evidence is more generally useful than that of the spacing of terminal and medial commas. The spacing evidence of quires F and G by columns runs as follows:

Spacing in Quires F and G, by Columns[*]

Col. a  Col. b 
Page  Hinman's comp.  Hill's comp.  Term. #,  Med. #,  Non sp.  Hill's comp.  Term. #,  Med. #,  Non sp. 
F1  A?  12 
1v   7*  5* 
2:1  21  25 
2v   11 
10*  7* 
3v   11  3*  13  1* 
14  25 
4v   12  17 
16  24 
5v   14  21 
22  3*  26 
6v   1j  3*  1j  2* 
G1  14  2*  5* 
1v   D?  10  1*  10  1* 
15*  6* 
2v   16  4*  13  0* 
1*  8* 
3v   19  16  1* 
D?  A(F)  20 
4v   D?  A(F)  27  19 
29  1:1  20 
5v   A(F)  A(F)  13  13 
A(F)  17  21 
6v   A? 
Patently, many of the pages which Hinman assigns to D have contrary spacing practices from column to column. Also, the spacing of medial commas on Hinman's D pages is not consistent with compositor D's practice in the case z pages of quire K where he does not prefer to use spaces after commas in short lines.[37] Further, the absence of spaced terminal commas from C's page F2v and the number of them elsewhere suggests that Hinman's attributions need closer examination. The table also shows that compositor B's strong inclination towards the use of spaces after commas is confirmed by the pages which Hinman


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assigned to him and that there are other columns which might also, if the spellings were agreeable, have been set by this compositor.

Compositor B's spellings are so distinctive and frequent that his contribution to MM may be dealt with summarily.

Hinman noted that the spellings of G1v resembled compositor B's but assigned the page to D against the evidence of 'heere' because 'there is no other evidence to suggest that B had any share in the setting of the last three formes of quire G. . .'.[38] The printing of quire F was so irregular that an appeal to normality carries little weight, but as the table shows, B is found in the last three formes of quire G, in column a of G1. There are no contrary spellings, the spacing agrees with what is known of B's practice, the spellings are incompatible with the habits of the other compositors, including D, and as can be seen from the earlier table of spacing in MM, the two columns of G1 contrast in spelling and spacing evidence. G1 was therefore shared by B and another compositor.

Other pages show different spacing habits between columns: this suggests but of course does not prove that two compositors shared in the composition. There are other pages and columns in which the incidence of spaced terminal commas points to compositor C. Hence F4 and F4v are more likely to have been set by C than any other compositor (certainly not A or D who did not favour internal spaces), and so too are F5a, G4a, G6vb where the distribution of spaced terminal and internal commas contrasts with the practice of the other column of the page. The spacing evidence is most useful to distinguish C, who, as Tmp., TGV and Wiv. show, will accept 'do', 'go' and 'here'


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occasionally from copy, but it is less useful to distinguish A and D, particularly when many of the columns have large numbers of long lines. Their stints have been assigned, as far as other spellings permit, on the principle of minimising the number of 'do/go' spellings allowed to A. The evidence I have used and my final allocation of columns to A, C and D is set out in a table facing this page. It may be that C's partner in the shared pages of quire F was sometimes A rather than D to whom, where the spellings are not conclusive, I have assigned columns so that quire F was shared by two compositors other than B.

The picture that this division of work presents of activities in Jaggard's printing-house is most unusual.[39] It is scarcely to be conceived that the Folio would ever have been published had this been the ordinary method of working. Yet the absence of corroboration from type recurrence and distribution which Hinman noticed is perhaps more readily explained if the compositors shared many pages of these quires and distributed whole pages, rather than the portions each had set, into the type-cases which were free at the moment. In any event, Hinman's account of the printing shows that when the printing of Wilson's Christian Dictionary came to an end and compositor D was free to work more often on the Folio, normal routine was upset. The irregular distribution of these quires arose, I suggest, not because compositor D's practice was irregular (as Hinman thought) but because the division of setting amongst four compositors working from two cases led to unusual practices.

A's 'indeede' is found on G4va (2439) and G5v (2718j), 'she'll' on G5v (2654j), 'we'll' on G5v (2743, 2690j), and there is an indented verse turn-over on G5va. Characteristic C spellings are 'they'll' on F2 (236j), 'you'll' on F3v (685j) and G6v (2935), 'deed' on F4 (848) and G6 (2853) but 'deede' on G4a (2291), 'doe't' twice on F4 (799, 802j), 'shee'll' on G2b (1841), and 'wee'll' on G5 (2638j) and G6v (2937). An indented turn-over occurs on D's F1b, 'indeed' on F1va (131j), 'indeede' on F3 (558, 561, 550j, 581j) and F2b (331j), 'youle' on F3 (589), and 'doo't' on F5b (1071, 1074). A is characterised by his preference for italicising 'Duke/s', 'Prouost', and 'Frier' and his intolerance of 'do', 'go' and 'heere'. He seems to have preferred 'Duk.' to 'Duke.' as the speech-prefix. Compositor C on the other hand did not generally italicise these words although it is consistent with his habits elsewhere in the Folio that occasionally he should do so. He was more prone than A to accept 'do' from his copy, though not as often as D, and his


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readiness to take 'here' from copy has been noted in the preceding comedies. He inclined to the speech-prefix 'Duke.' Compositor D did not tolerate 'heere' and did not italicise 'Duke/s', but apart from his willingness to accept 'do' and 'go' from his copy, his habits are similar to A's.

These were the general grounds for the compositor identifications from spellings in quires F and G. There is not much useful evidence on F1 and F1v. Compositor C clearly set F1vb. Page F2 is divided on spacing evidence between C and D, on account of the 'do' spellings and 'Frier.' Page F2v contains the 17 'Isa.' speech-prefixes which led Hinman to assign this page to a compositor (C) who otherwise, since other pages show mixed forms of the speech-prefix, did not participate in the setting of MM. In the other sections of the text which I give to C he preferred 'Isab.' but the unitalicised 'Duke' and 'Prouost', together with the spacing, obliges me to conclude that in this first page in which he encountered 'Isa.' compositor C followed copy. The spacing of F3 is inconclusive, but the 'do/go' spellings suggest D rather than A. Spacing and Hinman's conclusion that the pages of the first forme were set by the same compositor makes it most likely that F3v was set by C, despite such A spellings as 'ile' and 'here'. In F4, F4v



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and F5a the large number of spaced terminal commas makes C the compositor, but D seems to have set F5b where there are two 'do' spellings and a great number of medial commas without spaces. The 'heere' spellings and 'Frier' (1501) show that F6vb is C's as also the other column may be, but the 'do' spellings there encourage me to maintain the division of quire F between C and D. Compositor B's partner in G1b is assuredly D as 'do', 'Duke/s' and 'Frier' show, and the spacing and 'do' of G2a show that that column was also set by D. His partner may well have been A since the spacing is inconclusive, but the unitalicised 'Friar' (1566) and the preponderance of 'Duke.' speech-prefixes indicate C, to whom, with the support of his characteristic 'shee'll' (1841), G2b may also be given. Spacing and spelling evidence agree to show C as the compositor of column a of G4 which was evidently shared by two compositors. Compositor A is more likely, on the showing of four 'Duke's and two 'Frier's, than D to have been C's partner, and similar evidence divides G4v between the same compositors. Spacing and spellings alike show C to have set the whole of G5 and A to have set G5v. Contrasting spellings divide G6 between A and C, but only the elisions show C to have set the short page G6v.

Discriminating spellings are scanty in Err. where, fortunately, Hinman's attribution of H4v, H5, H6, H6v and I1-2v to compositor B is amply confirmed by the spacing and other characteristic practices, such as the setting of 'Mr, without a point, which have been noticed in his pages previously.[40] The compositors of the remaining pages are not as readily distinguished, for again on pages which Hinman assigned to D, B's partner in Err., there is conflict of spacing evidence between the columns of some pages. Spaced terminal commas indicate that C was responsible for H1 and H1va where his characteristic 'heere' is seen, but not column b where, although there is one spaced terminal comma, the other spacing and two 'indeede's tell against him. He also set H2b where 'heere' is found; five 'Mistris' spellings in column a and six 'Mistresse's in column b show that H4 was set by different compositors. The spacing of H2v and H3a (which also has 'Mistresse' spellings) identifies C as the compositor but he is unlikely, despite the spaced comma in column a, to have set H3v which has many indented turn-overs of verse lines: these are also found on H3b and H4b which C did not set. (Compositor C also set H4a as the spacing and 'heere' show.) His partner in the shared pages where 'do' and 'go' sometimes occur is therefore more likely to have been D than A. I


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have assigned the remainder of Err., where indented verse turn-overs are frequent, to D.

Happily, after MM and Err. the printing of the comedies became more regular and never again are the compositors found sharing the setting of single pages in such numbers. Undoubtedly the introduction of a fresh type-case, case z, from which hereafter D usually set, contributed greatly to normalisation of the compositorial work from Ado. onwards. In the rest of quire I, quire K and L1 which make up Ado., Hinman distinguished three compositors. Two are B, and D setting from case z, whereas the compositor who set from case x was doubtfully A, C, or both. The spellings do not give good evidence because much of Ado. is prose, but the spacing evidence leaves little doubt that the compositor of case x was C, even though, because of the many long lines, some of the spacing counts are inconclusive. The spellings, especially 'indeed' which only C sets against the copy spelling, supports C's composition of the pages I attribute to him.

The spacing also shows him to have set M1-3v of LLL where Hinman was in doubt: all the evidence is consistent with division amongst B, C and D (setting from case z). Spacing also confirms D as the compositor of N6v of MND.[41] In MV there are anomalies of spacing in C's pages but the spaced terminal commas give good evidence of his presence. Page P1v, which Hinman assigned to C from the spellings, I have given to D on the evidence of indented turn-overs and spacing.[42] The absence of 'do/go' spellings cannot tell against D in MV because there are none at all in quarto copy. Accordingly I have reassigned Hinman's A pages of quire O which were set from case z to compositor D: 'youle' on O5v and the spacing supports this, but great confidence is not possible when the only spellings which distinguish D from A cannot, by the nature of the copy, occur very frequently. I should perhaps note that Hinman shifted his ground here: compositor D, who was earlier identified by his tolerance of 'do/go' when they were in his copy is now identified because copy 'doe' and 'goe' were 'needlessly' changed to 'do' and 'go'.[43] In short, compositor D not only tolerated these spellings but also occasionally used them against copy: in this his habit is like C's. The spellings of MV are not so clear that it can be certain that every page has been correctly assigned to A and D, and a closer analysis may find that all pages set from case z were set by compositor D.


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None of Hinman's compositor identifications in AYL has been changed but in Shr. pages T5-6v which he assigned to A are more likely to have been set by D. The compositor set from a new type-case which had been freshly distributed into, so type evidence is not available to aid the identification of the compositor.[44] There are too many 'do/go' spellings for compositor A (it is suggestive that there is only one such spelling in C's pages: apparently 'do/go' were not frequent in copy) and the indented verse turn-overs, which occur on all four pages, and D's characteristic 'weele' on T5, support reattribution to him. To these D pages may be added V3 and V3v of AWW where, because there is only one 'do/go' spelling, Hinman identified A. However, the elisions are strong evidence of compositor D and there are indented verse turn-overs on both pages: compositor D was responsible for them.

Compositor B set the whole of TN and shared WT, the last text in the comedies section, with compositor A. The compositor identifications from a detailed investigation of the composition of WT by J. H. P. Pafford were confirmed by Hinman. Dr. Pafford noticed that B's page Bb3 contains a fairly large number of uncharacteristic spellings; his table shows, for example, four 'here's.[45] But as Hinman commented, all but one of the non-B spellings in this page occur in long lines; all the 'here' spellings are in long lines, and three of them are 'here's' spellings, B's frequent justified form. Spacing evidence confirms this page as his.

Compositor A in the Comedies and Histories

I have already mentioned the possibility that the A of the early comedies and the A of WT and the histories were not the same compositor. Anomalies in the summary of A's habits on p. 85 suggest that this question deserves some consideration. It will be noticed that the compositor of WT prefers 'indeed', 'mistresse', "x'th'" and 'x'le' whereas in A's pages of Tmp., TGV, Wiv., MM and MV the corresponding preferences are 'indeede', 'mistris', "x'th/xth'" and 'x'll'.[46]


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This evidence is too scanty for the influence of copy to be dismissed, but there are other differences between the habits of the compositor in the two groups of pages. The simplest test of the integrity of the compositor is to observe the occurrence of the spellings which Miss Walker has identified as characteristic of A in WT and the later plays of the Folio. In the table below I have included some other useful spellings, and counts of the elisions.

From this it is clear that the compositor A of R2, which was partly set before WT and finished after it, and the A of WT are one and the same. Although I have not represented the histories which preceded the setting of quire d of R2 in the table, apart from the elision counts, A's spellings there are consistent with the spellings in the table. Nothing I have observed suggests that A changed his habits in the histories. This confirms Miss Walker's description of A's habits. Comparison of the spellings of this part of the Folio with the summary for the five plays in which A shared before WT shows many contrasting features. It is possible to discount the elisions in Tmp. where the compositor, fresh to work of this kind, was possibly more greatly influenced by copy than he usually was. Compositor B also seems to



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have set a fair number of elisions from copy in Tmp., Wiv., and WT. Copy influence can not entirely explain the variation between the "'ll" and "'le" elisions although undoubtedly some of them, and some of the other spellings listed in the table, were taken from copy. There is a common preference for 'doe/goe/here' and a strong disinclination to set 'do/go/heere' other than in long lines, but the compositor's use of other variant spellings differs between the groups of pages.

This matter is relevant because of the five plays printed before WT in which compositor A had a hand, four (Tmp., TGV, Wiv., MM) are texts which were probably printed (and WT also) from copy prepared by Crane. If for the moment it is conceded that the copy was Crane's, and if the compositor A of the early comedies and histories is taken to be a single compositor, it is still impossible to explain the different counts by reference to Crane's spellings.[47] Both Crane and the histories A prefer 'deuill', yet that spelling does not occur from Tmp. to MM; instead there are 12 'diuell's. Crane preferred 'howre' and the A of the histories tolerated 'hower'[48] yet no such spelling occurs in the early comedies. The histories A would tolerate 'mistresse' from copy; 'mistris' is Crane's spelling and A uses it 22 times in the early comedies, yet in WT, the copy for which was presumably in the same hand, 7 'mistresse' spellings occur and only two of the spellings which are assumed to have been in copy. The single 'indeed' is possibly a copy spelling for that was Crane's invariable spelling, yet there are 17 'indeede' spellings in the early comedies. In WT 'indeed' occurs ten times, but these are not likely to have been taken from copy as 'indeed' is also the preferred spelling of A's pages in the histories. 'Yong' is the spelling of Crane and the A of the comedies but in WT the compositor sets 'young', the characteristic spelling of A of the histories. Miss Walker's compositor A, in short, prefers 'deare', 'deuill', 'suddaine' and 'young' whereas the compositor of the early comedies prefers 'deere', 'diuell', 'sodaine' and 'yong'.

There is other evidence. The spacing is not altogether clear since spaced commas inside short lines are not favoured in either group of pages. However, the table of spacing[49] shows that whereas the comedies compositor would quite often space a fair number of internal commas, occasionally more than were left without spaces, the practice of the


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histories A is much more pronounced and never, in the plays I have examined, is there a greater number of spaced commas to unspaced commas. Also, before WT, the compositor A was indifferent to whether he set the first word of the speech together with the speech-prefix in a catchword, or the speech-prefix alone, but in the histories his invariable practice was to supply the first word of the dialogue with which the next page started.

The evidence is such that it is not possible to believe that a single compositor is found in A's pages of the comedies and histories without serious doubt being cast on the principles on which compositor identifications from spelling are made. There could be little objection to this if the procedures of spelling analysis had been called into question elsewhere in the Folio, or in other books. A compositor might change his preference from one form of a spelling to another over a period of time, or perhaps admit so many copy-spellings against his usual practice that in a particular text it might be difficult to discern his presence, but one does not expect (and indeed, I have not found) a compositor to change a number of established practices at once. There is no practical alternative to the belief that when compositorial practices change between groups of texts, a change of compositor is indicated. This is the basis of compositor determination in the Folio, and if application of the principle has proved adequate to distinguish B from D, for example, it should be possible to distinguish between the compositors of the early comedies and the histories on the same ground. There is some further support for the maintenance of this principle in that none of the other compositors' habits changed significantly during the course of the Folio's printing though, since they set from the same kinds of copy as A had before him, they would have been just as exposed as he was to copy spellings contrary to their own. I can see little alternative but to conclude that there was another compositor in the early comedies; henceforth I shall refer to him as F.[50]

In other folios printed by Jaggard about this time, the principal compositors of the Folio can be identified in discrete sections of the books by their usual spellings.[51] However, there are patterns of spellings, particularly in Favyn, with which compositors A, B, C, and D of the Folio cannot easily be readily identified. Compositorial patterns


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in these books are so generally consistent from one folio to the other that one can be reasonably confident that the compositors have been correctly identified. Nevertheless, there are some sections distinguished by firm compositorial spelling preferences which cannot be identified, especially after, say, the Folio A, has already been distinguished in that book. When I made my survey of these folios in 1965 I was inclined then to conclude that there was another Jaggard compositor but deferred the conclusion until work on the Folio supplied further evidence.[52] It is most likely that more work on other Jaggard books of the time will confirm that Jaggard used at least five compositors before he took on the apprentice E.

Postscript: In the tables, please include the following additions and corrections (my errors).

  • p. 90 Compositor B: Preferred Form, do, Err., should be 13:4; Total should be 351:129.
  • p. 90 Compositor C: Preferred Form, Term. sp., TGV, should be 59:3; Term. sp., Wiv., should be 2:16; Term. sp., Total should be 474:70.
  • p. 93 Compositor C, sig. C2, Term. sp., should be 10:2; sig. C3v, Term sp., should be 8:1; last line, Term. sp., should be 59:3.
  • p. 94 Compositor F, sig. D3v, Term. sp., should be 1; last line, Term. sp., should be 1; Compositor C, sig. D2v, Term. sp., should be 1j; last line, Term sp., should be 2:16.
  • p. 95 Compositor B, sig. H4v, do, should be 3:1; last line, do, should be 13:4.
  • p. 102 Compositor B, sig. X4, Term. sp., should be 1j; last line, Term. sp., should be 1:1.
  • p. 103 Sig. Z4, Term. sp., should be 1j; last line, Term. sp., should be 7:6.


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COMPOSITOR A (i.e. F and A):[*]

i'th  A1v A5(2) B1(2)  = 5 
o'th  A5v(2) B1v   = 3 
wee'l  c5 Aa1  = 2 
deed  B1  = 1 
Aalv(1:1) Aa2v Aa5 n2v(3) n3 o4v o6 d1  = 10:1 
do't  Aa2v(6) Aa3v Bb6v(j)  = 7:1 
a'th'  i5v   = 1 
i'th'  Aa1 Aa1v Aa2 Aa2v Aa5v Aa6(2) Bb4v(2) Bb5 h1 h4b(j) h6v(j)  = 11:2 
o'th'  A1v   = 1 
Aa1v(2) Aa2v Aa3 Aa3v Aa5v(2)  = 7 
hee'le  Aa1v Bb5v h5 h6v i3v l2 n2  = 8 
shee'le  m4v(2)  = 2 
they'le  i4 k3v m4 n1 n1v o4(j) d1  = 6:1 
wee'le  Aa1(j) Aa1v Cc1 h4v i1 k1 k2 k2v k3v(1:1) 
k4(3:1) k4v(j) k5v l1v(j) l2(2) l2v(2) 
m4(2) m4v m5(2) n1(j) o4 o5 o5v d1(4)  = 29:6 
you'le  Aa1v Aa2 Aa3 Aa5 Bb4v (1:1) Bb6v(j) Cc1v(2) h5 i3(j) k1(j) o5(j)  = 8:5 
ith'  A5 A5v(2) B1v D3 D3v E5(2)  = 8 
oth'  A1v   = 1 
he'll  A5v D3v   = 2 
she'll  B5 C4 G5v(j)  = 2:1 
they'll  A5 E3(j)  = 1:1 
we'll  A5v C4v(5) C5(1:1) D3v G5v(1:1)  = 9:2 
you'll  B4v B5 E3(j)  = 2:1 


Page 106


  • deede F6 S3 V5v X2v(j) X3 Y5(j) = 4:2; doo't E4v V5v X1v X2v Y5(2j) = 4:2, a'th V6(j) V6v(j) X1(2j) X4v(2j) Y1(2) = 2:6; by'th M5 Y2v = 2; i'th A3 A4 A6 A6v E2v (1:1) E3v E5v(j) E6 E6v F5 F6 G1a G1v H4v O3(2) P5v Q6v R1 R2 R6v S1 T3 T4v(3) V2 V6 X2 X2v X3 X3v(2) X4(2) X4v(2) X6 Y1 Y3(j) Y5(1:1 y'th) Y6 Z1v(1:1) Z5 Aa6v (2) Bb3 Bb3v Bb4 = 47:5; o'th S3 Y2v(3j) Y3(j) Z2v(j) Aa4v Aa6v Bb1v Bb2 Bb2v(3) Bb4 = 9:5; to'th S2 V5 V6(3:1 too'th) Y1 Y2v Aa4 = 8:1; hee'l A1 A6v E3v(j) E4v(2:1) I3 I5b(j) M4v S5(j) S5v(j) T3v(2) X4(j) Y2v(j) Y3v(1:2) Z1v(j) Z2 Bb2v = 11:10; shee'l H4v (she'l j) S6v (she'l) X2v Y2v(j + she'l 2j) Aa4v = 3:4; they'l A4(2) E4(j) H6v M4v S2 Aa4 = 6:1; wee'l A6 A6v E1v(we'l j) E2 (we'l j) E3v(j) E4v G3v(j) I2v(1:1) S2(j) S3(2) V5 X1v X2 X2v X3v X5 X6 X6v Y3v Y6(j) Z1v Z2v(j) Z3v(j) Z6 Bb1 Bb3(1:1 + wee'll j) Bb3v (1:1) = 20:12; you'l A6(1:1) E1(j) E4v(j) E5v E6v(j) F6 G3v(j) H5 I3 I5b M4 P5v P6 Q4(j) R2 S1(3) S1v(2) S4v S5v Y2v(j) Z1(j) Z1v(j) Z3(j) Bb2v Bb3v Bb4 = 20:10
  • deed R3v Aa4 Bb1(j) = 2:1; do't A3 F6 Z5(j) Bb1v(j) = 2:2; a'th' A3 A3v A4 = 3; by'th' I1v(j) = 1j; i'th' A4(j) Aa4 Bb1 = 2:1; o'th' A4v Aa4 Aa6v Bb1 Bb2(4) Bb3v = 9; to'th Y1(j) = 1j; they'le V5(j) X5v(theyle j) = 2j; wee'le E1v(j) E3v(j) V1 X2v(j) X4v(j) = 1:4; you'le V6v(1:1) = 1:1
  • oth' A4 = 1; he'll E1v E4v(2) Y1 = 4; she'll E2v = 1; they'll E4v(2) = 2; we'll E1v(j) E2(j) E3v E4v E5v(1:1 wee'll) Z5(j) = 3:4; you'll G1v(j) = 1j
  • deede B2v G4a = 2; doo't M3 = 1; i'th F4 = 1; o'th A2 B2 F4 = 3; hee'l B2v = 1; wee'l O2(j) = 1j; you'l C1(j) K1v(j) = 2j
  • deed F4b Q1(3:1) Q1v Q2v V4v = 7:1; i'th' B2 G4a(j) = 1:1; o'th' A2(3) A2v(5) B3 D5 F3v M1(j) = 11:1; wee'le P4(j) Q1v T2 = 2:1
  • doe't F4b(2) = 2; ith' A2 = 1; oth' R4v = 1; hee'll R4v T2 = 2;shee'll D4v G2b I6v(j) R4(j) T1(j) = 2:3; they'll F2a(j) H4a M3v O4b = 3:1; wee'll A2v B6v C1v D1 D2v(j) G5b(j) G6v H4a(j) I4v I6(2) L1 M3v O4b P5 Q1 R6 T2v = 15:3; you'll B6 D2(2) D2v(1:1) D4v(j) D5(j) F3v(j) G6v K3(j) L2v(j) L3v M1 M3(2:1) T1v T2v = 11:7
  • deede L5 O5v Q4 = 3; doo't F5b(2) = 2; i'th V3 = 1; weel K6(j) = 1j
  • deed L6v(j) = 1j; do't L5v = 1; heele K6 L6(j) Q5 = 2:1; sheele V3 = 1; weele K2v Q5 Q6(2) T5 = 5; youle F3b K2v(j) O5v V3(j) = 2:2
  • ath' L6(ath j) V3(j) = 2j; byth' V3v = 1; ith' G2a P1v(ith) = 2; toth' V3v(tooth) = 1; they'll H2a H3b = 2; wee'll H5v = 1; you'll H3v(3j) = 3j



"Compositors C and D of the Shakespeare First Folio," PBSA, 65 (1971), 41-52.


Early use of spellings to identify compositors is discussed in some detail in my "Spelling and the Bibliographer," Library, 5th. ser., 18 (1968), 1-28.


Textual Problems of the First Folio (1953), p. 9.


Compositor A is discussed on pp. 84-88 where I conclude that the compositor of the comedies before WT is not A of the Histories. For ease of reference, however, I continue to use the accepted designation in this discussion.


Textual Problems, p. 10.


C. Hinman, "The Prentice Hand in the Tragedies of the Shakespeare First Folio: Compositor E," SB 9 (1957), 3-20.


Hinman discusses the 'do/go/here' spellings of these compositors in The Printing and Proof-Reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare, (1963), I, 18-200. Since the fifth compositor, E, does not appear in the comedies, I have not referred to his habits here.


Miss Walker has noticed that B alone sets 'Mr' without a point; this is useful evidence in Wiv.


These general observations may be checked in the summary tables of compositorial spellings on pp. 89-91.


These figures were compiled from the 'tabular synopsis' in Hinman, II, 514-15.


Mr. Cairncross's use of the arrangement of SD to identify compositors is discussed briefly on pp. 72-74.


To MV I worked from the Malone Folio in the Bodleian Library, thereafter from the Norton facsimile. Hinman's through-line-numbering system is used throughout for reference.


Other inked quadrats and spaces may be seen at Wiv. 2420, 2421; MM 2690; MV 2396, 2397; AYL 1671; Shr. 300; WT 3355; Jn. 229 and 2H6 3302.


Whether any particular comma is counted as spaced or non-spaced depends partly on individual judgement; preceding or succeeding sorts and the extent to which they are correctly centered, may influence judgement. The italic ligature 'us', for instance, seems always to be followed by a space, but whether there is one in a particular instance is difficult to decide. My counts, therefore, may differ (even though they have been repeated and checked) from the counts of others.—Counts of spaced commas column by column for the pages of the comedies form appendix I of 'Ralph Crane and five Shakespearian First Folio comedies', D. Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1970.


See for example in the tables on pp. 90-103 the figures for pages with many long lines in Tmp., TGV, Wiv., and MV set by B and C who normally preferred to set spaces after commas in short lines.


The spellings do not allow A5v to be assigned to any other compositor.


In this table and hereafter, 'j' is used to denote occurrence in a long line. When spellings or spaced terminal commas occur in both short and long lines, the counts are given in the form '3:1'.


This is the A of the comedies, whom I later name 'F'; see pp. 85-87.


Hinman, I, 196-197.


Such pages are asterisked in the tables.


I shall cite the counts of spacing in this form hereafter: the figures are for spaced terminal commas, spaced medial commas, and non-spaced commas inside short lines respectively.


Ralph Crane and some Folio Comedies, a monograph based on an Oxford D.Phil. thesis (see note 14), has just been published by the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia (1972).


Cairncross, p. 42, does not show the indentation of C's SD; there is a misprint in B's example. Q2 in the antepenultimate line should be O2.


Cairncross, p. 50, suggests that A1, on account of the initial SD, was started by C.


Cairncross, p. 50.


The distribution of the main variants of 'fareyouwell' may be of interest: fare-thee-well D5v, farethee well sslv, fareyouwel K5, fareyouwell G4, P2, R4, a6v, farthee well Gg2v (2), fartheewell Z2v, Bb2, faryewell O4, O4v, faryouwell P5, far-thee-well Z2v.


Cairncross, p. 44.


These figures come from a fairly hasty manual count and may be inaccurate, though not, it is believed, to an extent that affects the argument.


See Hinman II, 380 ff. for an account of the irregular distribution of this part of the comedies. There is nothing intrinsically unlikely about compositors sharing pages: it occurred elsewhere in the Folio even after work practices had become more regular. See also p. 80.


Unlike Mr. Cairncross I find some traces of C in the spacing of some of the pages of the Tragedies section which Hinman assigns to him, but I am unable to write confidently on this at the moment.


See pp. 105-106.


See pp. 92-104.


On the separate identity of compositor A before WT, see pp. 84-88.


See pp. 67-68.


Hinman II, 379.


Hinman I, 196-200.


Asterisks denote columns with many long lines.


See p. 70.


Hinman I, 408.


Hinman divides quire F, as I divide G, amongst four compositors.


In Err., on H4v (956), H6v (1386) and I1v (1647).


Henceforth, to Wt, I discuss only the pages where Hinman's identifications have been questioned or confirmed.


Hinman I, 415, commented that 'Plv could have been set by D'.


Hinman I, 415-417.


Hinman II, 452 arbitrarily named this case x.


Pafford, "The Winter's Tale: typographical peculiarities in the Folio text", N&Q, 206 (1961), 172-178. The table is on p. 174.


In an earlier investigation for which Hinman's attributions were accepted, but drawing only on the pages about which he was certain, I noticed variation between A's preferred spelling of been/beene/bin and honor/honour in Tmp., TGV, Wiv., and MM, and WT. This and the other evidence is all the more significant if the copy for all these texts had been prepared by the same scribe. In A's pages of the early comedies there are many bin's (Crane's strongly-preferred spelling was byn), a scattering of beene spellings, and no been's at all, yet been is the dominant spelling of A's pages of WT, and there are no bin spellings. In R2, A changes bin to beene.


Crane's spellings of some of the words mentioned here are: doe, goe, here, deere, deuil/l, greif/ue, howre, indeed, mistris, sodaine, yeare/yeere, yong.


Walker, Textual Problems, p. 9.


See p. 89.


It is wise to reserve the denomination A for the familiar A of the histories.


These folios are Mille's Treasurie, 1619 (STC 17936), Boccaccio's Decameron, 1620 (STC 3172), Burton's Description of Leicestershire, 1622 (STC 4179), Vincent's Discoverie of Errours, 1622 (STC 24756), and Favyn's Theater of Honour, 1622-3 (STC 10717).


Since my work on these folios relied on spellings derived from Hinman's compositor identifications, I am unwilling at the moment to write more specifically about the compositors in these books. The inescapable point is that these folios show mutually exclusive spelling-patterns, and more than are found in the Folio hitherto. The inference must be made that more than four compositors were employed in their composition.


Where there are two totals, the first excludes WT; subsequent citations refer to R2 (from c5), WT, H5, 1H6, 2H6, 3H6 (04 + only) and R2 cont., in Hinman's order of printing. This division demonstrates the distinct identities of compositor F (to WT) and A (from Aa1).