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In 1974 two works appeared that attempt to deal with the problems of bibliographical classification in cartography and musicology, and they can provide an instructive introduction not only to recent thinking in those fields but also to the nature of the difficulties such an undertaking entails. One is Coolie Verner's paper on "Carto-Bibliographical Description: The Analysis of Variants in Maps Printed from Copperplates," in the inaugural number of the American Cartographer (pp. 77-87); the other is the substantial volume that D. W. Krummel compiled for the International Association of Music Libraries, the Guide for Dating Early Published Music: A Manual of Bibliographical Practices. Both deserve credit for being pioneer efforts and for focusing attention within their fields on important but neglected questions; both also have short-comings, as their authors would no doubt agree, and a consideration of certain of those flaws can, I hope, serve a constructive purpose. I find


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that I must be rather harsh on Verner's piece; but it seems to have achieved considerable acceptance in its field—I have heard it referred to as "the McKerrow of carto-bibliography"—and a careful examination of it is therefore in order.[3]

Verner, after explaining the kinds of events that occur in the history of individual plates of maps, concludes, "Terms used in descriptive bibliography [i.e., of letterpress books] are not applicable to cartobibliography because the precise conditions described by a term in the one are not found in the other" (p. 84). This statement, on the face of it, raises a number of problems. If indeed the "precise conditions" are so different, then of course different terms are desirable. But that observation hardly gets us very far. It is true that some terms used in the description of books have been employed with different meanings in the description of maps, and there is of course an awkwardness in such a situation. But to conclude that the same terminology will not fit both kinds of material is not a very productive solution: one of the goals of bibliographical description, as of other kinds of historical research, is to find connections, or patterns, or organizing principles, in the mass of surviving evidence. Even though letterpress is a relief process (or, in its more extended sense, a planographic one as well) and engraving an intaglio process, both involve presses of some sort and the transfer of inked images. It would seem profitable, therefore, to proceed from a premise of underlying similarity rather than to emphasize differences of detail.[4]


Page 5

For example, in his brief discussion of issue, Verner cites definitions by McKerrow and Bowers and then concludes, "In view of the precise meanings attached to the term issue in descriptive bibliography and its inappropriateness for carto-bibliography, this term should not be used in describing maps" (p. 86). Why it is inappropriate for cartobibliography is not analyzed; instead there is the flat statement that the "very specialized application" of the term to letterpress material has "no corollary in carto-bibliography." Although there has been some difference of opinion about exactly how issue should be employed in the description of books, the various definitions share a common theme: an issue is a publishing unit within an edition or a printing, and variant features that provide evidence of publishing or marketing decisions (such as a cancel title leaf with a different publisher's imprint or an inserted series designation) are determinants of issue.[5] In the case of an individual map, the substitution of one publisher's or bookseller's name for another by means of a paste-over cancel would create a different issue; and even if situations producing issues are not common in connection with the publication of separate maps, the possibility of such situations should surely be recognized in any theoretical framework for classification. Furthermore, when several engraved maps are fastened together as a unit, they become in effect a book, and the concept of issue is as relevant to such books as to letterpress books. Issue, of course, refers to whole entities as they are made available for sale, not to particular constituent parts of them, and engraved maps inserted into letterpress books may become elements in one or another issue of those books; indeed, their presence could conceivably be the factor determining issue, if copies of the letterpress sheets were also published without the maps. Although variants in individual maps are not necessarily involved here, the point is that the concept of issue cannot be regarded as irrelevant to the study of the way maps are published.

The logic of Verner's discussion of edition is equally questionable, but his comments do serve to illustrate still more of the problems involved. Verner says that the definition of edition by McKerrow and


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Bowers, when applied to maps, would mean "all the impressions printed from a single plate" (p. 86).[6] Although "impressions" is used here in a different sense from its usual one in bibliography (here it means individual copies), the statement seems reasonable, since the engraved plate is the counterpart of the setting of type in letterpress printing. But Verner proceeds to say, "In this use of the term it is synonymous with the carto-bibliographical term plate and therefore redundant." After another sentence, he adds, "although the term edition is not functional in carto-bibliographical description and should be abandoned, it will continue to be used with reference to a given group of impressions [copies] of a map and must be defined precisely. An edition, then, as Skelton specifies, consists of all of the impressions of a map printed from any given state of a plate." A term that is "not functional in carto-bibliographical description" is thus recognized to have a function in describing "a given group of impressions of a map." One may well ask why the latter activity is not part of carto-bibliographical description; perhaps "description" here really means "cataloguing," although much of the discussion deals with relationships among copies and not with single copies in isolation. That difficulty, however, is only one of many raised by this passage.

Another is the idea that edition is synonymous with "plate" and "therefore redundant." It is true that "plate" is often used to refer to individual finished products rather than to the copperplate itself: we speak of a letterpress book illustrated with "plates." In this sense all the "plates"—that is, all the copies of an engraving—produced from a single copperplate would be analogous to a letterpress edition (all the copies from a given setting of type).[7] But this use of "plate" is not what Verner has in mind. "In carto-bibliography," he says, "the term plate applies specifically to the wood block, copperplate, or lithographic stone used to print a given impression of a map" (p. 85). In that case it is difficult to see how "plate" renders the term edition redundant, for the former refers to a printing surface and the latter refers collectively to all the copies printed from a particular printing surface. Edition in letterpress terminology does not, after all, refer to type formes but to all the sheets of paper that have been printed from a given set of such formes.[8] Precision


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requires that the distinction between printing surfaces and printed copies be maintained in terminology. If "plate" were used for both purposes, the context would sometimes make clear what was meant, but in many cases confusion would be likely to result.

Perhaps Verner intends to make a similar point when he admits that edition should be used "with reference to a given group of impressions of a map." But the definition he approves for this purpose creates further difficulties: "all of the impressions [copies] of a map printed from any given state of a plate."[9] The result of this definition would be that a single copperplate could result in more than one edition. Since edition has been more widely used for books than for engravings and since the meaning of the term in that connection is well established, it would seem to be foolish, when applying the term to engraved material, to support a usage that is not parallel to the usage for books. There is surely a convenience in having a term to refer to everything produced from a single plate, stone, setting of type, and so on, and edition would seem to be the clear-cut choice for this term. Equating an edition of an engraving with a single state of a plate (whatever "state" means) can only invite misunderstanding.

What Verner means by "state" is of course relevant to understanding his comments on edition. He believes that there is "essentially more agreement between descriptive bibliography and carto-bibliography with respect to the meaning attached to the term state than to any other terms used conjointly" (p. 85). In carto-bibliography, he says, "state identifies and designates a particular period in the life of the plate; during another state the plate will differ from the preceding in some particulars." Any difference, in other words, produces a new state. Those accustomed to talking about letterpress material would be more inclined to think of state as referring to the printed pieces produced. This point is not of great moment, since normally a different state of type-impressions on a piece of paper results from a different state of the type.[10] (There is a more substantial point involved, however: description, whether of books or of maps, has as its primary focus the finished products, which in any case are generally the only evidence one has. When a copperplate or a stereotype plate has survived, it can be described, but such description is subordinate to the main business of bibliographical or carto-bibliographical


Page 8
description—to describe and classify the printed or engraved items themselves.) What would be more disturbing to the letterpress bibliographer about this broad conception of state is that it ignores the distinction between the kinds of differences that reflect different publishing intentions, intended to be noticed by the public (differences that create issues, in other words), and those that result from accident or the attempt to correct errors. One may at first think this distinction to be more relevant for books, since state refers to a particular element in a book, whereas issue refers to the book as a whole. (A textual variant can produce two states of given page; but a cancel title leaf with a new publisher's name creates not a second issue of that leaf but a second issue of the whole book.) When one is dealing with a single map (or a letterpress broadside, for that matter), where the whole is made up of one piece of paper, not of physically separate units brought together, one may feel that the issue-state distinction is unnecessary. But even if the distinction is less important for practical purposes in such cases, it remains conceptually significant. And when maps are joined together into books, the possibility of having different states of particular maps and different issues of the whole is just as real as with letterpress books:[11] carto-bibliography cannot be limited to individual maps but must take into account the presence of maps in books, both in atlases and as inserts in letterpress books.[12]

In letterpress bibliography, issue and state are subordinate to printing, when an edition consists of more than one printing. For Verner this point is unnecessary, because he dismisses the concept of printing as irrelevant to the study of engraved maps. A printing has traditionally been defined as all the copies printed from a setting of type at one time— that is, in a single press run. Verner asserts, "This is not a pertinent characteristic in the study of early printed maps, since it is impossible to identify with certainty what copies were pulled at the same time so long as the plate was not altered by plate changes" (p. 85).[13] (One might


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add that even if changes occurred, they would not necessarily coincide with the intervals between printings.) It may well be that distinguishing copies of a letterpress book printed at one time is often easier than determining which copies of an engraving were produced in a single run. Sometimes, for instance, a title-page date, a notice on the verso of the title page, or some other readily recognizable feature identifies a printing. But printings of books are by no means always easily identifiable, and frequently a considerable amount of bibliographical analysis of the physical evidence, along with the investigation of external sources (such as publishers' archives), is necessary before one is in a position to speak with any authority about what printings a given edition may consist of. To say that it is "impossible" to identify printings of engravings is surely an overstatement; to say that it is generally difficult and sometimes impossible would be more reasonable. But to claim that something is not "pertinent" because it is difficult (or even impossible) would seem to represent wishful, rather than logical, thinking. Bibliographical description, whether of books or of maps, seeks to establish historical facts. The fact, for instance, that a particular copperplate was used to produce a group of copies in March of one year and another group two years later is worth putting on record, when it can be ascertained. That facts are not easy to unearth does not mean that the effort should be abandoned. Verner provides no reason for believing that the concept of printing— the designation of copies produced in a single run—is irrelevant to the historical study of engravings.

There is a difficulty of terminology that must be faced in connection with printing. Descriptive bibliographers of books have traditionally regarded impression as a synonym for printing, and publishers as well as bibliographers use impression to refer to a group of copies, not to individual copies. However, scholars of cartography and of art history, who regularly deal with engravings, have customarily employed impression to signify each copy made from a copperplate. One must admit that this usage has as much logic as the other—indeed, it probably has more. Each copy of a book is an impression from the type, just as each copy of an engraving is an impression from the copperplate. The only problem is one of convention: impression is not conventionally used to mean "copy" by bibliographers of letterpress. This difference of usage is awkward, but nothing more: it does not reflect any underlying differences


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of process in the two areas so drastic as to make a common vocabulary impossible. Both usages of impression, however, are so well established that it would be futile to try to eliminate one of them. Instead, one can avoid ambiguity either by using "copy" and "printing" rather than impression or by incorporating an explanatory phrase into any discussion where impression appears, if the context would not by itself make the meaning clear. Having these two meanings for impression is not ideal, but neither is it a matter for serious concern. It is a relatively superficial problem, on an entirely different level from the effort to think through logically the conceptual relationship between printing from engraved copperplates and printing from type.

That Verner's attempt to do the latter leaves something to be desired is further illustrated by his definitions of four terms that he says "are applicable only to printed maps" (p. 86). It is worth looking at these definitions, for their deficiencies are instructive, particularly in regard to the question whether description is to be focused on the copperplate or on the copies made from it. The first of these terms is "change": "Any alteration effected to a plate which prints on successive impressions pulled after the change is made constitute a plate change and create a new state of the plate."[14] This statement perfectly illustrates the problem through its inclusion, as a restrictive clause, of the words "which prints on successive impressions pulled after the change is made." By shifting here from the plate to the impression, the sentence succeeds only in making the nonsensical assertion that plate changes are changes that show up in printed copies made from the plate. Obviously one could change a plate and never print from it, but it would be no less a change for that. The fact of a change in the plate is not tied to whether the plate is actually printed from, though of course normally the only evidence one has for a plate change is a surviving impression made from that plate. One can legitimately say that two states of the impressions made from a plate, if they are of a certain kind,[15] are evidence of a change in the plate; but one cannot turn the point around and say that changes in the plate are changes for which evidence exists in printed impressions. The illogic of Verner's statement derives from a wavering as to whether he is talking about plates or impressions from them.[16] If his focus had been consistently


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on description of the printed artifacts, with subordinate references when appropriate to the history of the plates as inferred from the artifacts, there would be fewer problems with his work.[17]

His definition of "variant copy" suffers in the same way. "The term variant copy," he says, "is used to identify an impression which can be distinguished from another one pulled from the same plate and state, where the differentiating characteristics occur on more than one such impression and do not result from alterations to the plate itself as in the case of watermarks in the paper." Because his emphasis in defining state and "change" is on the plate, he feels the need for a term to refer to other changes that affect the finished product. But if he had kept that product at the center, he could have recognized more easily that differences in the plate and differences in the paper both produce differences in the resulting artifact and that it is logical (if perhaps unconventional) to regard both as resulting in different states of the finished prints. Indeed, either could result in different issues as well as states: the use of two different grades of paper, for example, might signify two issues just as much as might certain kinds of changes made in the plate. Because the use of state to mean "state of the plate" is so well established among those who write about engravings, one will no doubt have to speak of "state of the print" (or some such term) when one is referring to the printed piece of paper. But logic dictates that state and issue, as terms for the classification of artifacts, must encompass all kinds of differences present in the artifacts at the time of their release to the public. This approach does not of course result in any blurring of the distinction between differences in the plate and differences in the printing, for the features determining issues and states would obviously be recorded in any description; what it does is provide a logical framework for showing relationships among printed copies, taking into account the paper and the inked impressions that together make up those copies. The term "variant copy," as Verner defines it, thus seems unnecessary; as a technical term it is unwise because it is conceived too broadly to make the distinction between issue and state. Not the least curious aspect of his


Page 12
definition is its stipulation that "the differentiating characteristics occur on more than one such impression." If only one surviving copy is on paper with a particular watermark, one cannot be sure that others did not once exist; and even if only one ever existed, the use of that paper is still a historical fact.

The two remaining terms, "ectype" and "piracy," raise a somewhat different problem, but one of equal importance from a theoretical point of view. "The term ectype," Verner announces, "is used to identify a particular plate of a map which is very similar to that which it replicates but differs from the original only with respect to bibliographical details." He then adds, "This term has no counterpart in descriptive bibliography." The reason it has no counterpart is not that there is no parallel situation but that, as defined here, the concept is confused. If a plate is "very similar" to another one, it is nevertheless a different plate—just as a plate of a map representing a totally different geographical area would be a different plate. What links the two "very similar" plates together is their content—or what in connection with letterpress books might be called the "work" embodied in the physical object. It is conventional to distinguish between a "work" (an arrangement of words and punctuation) and a "book" (a concrete object that embodies one representation of a work). When a verbal work is set in type a second time, the resulting edition may be just as different from the first in typography, paper, and binding as an edition of some other work; it is related to the first only because the arrangement of type-impressions in it is meant to be a representation of the same work. In the case of maps, one would have to define what the counterpart of "work" would be. It would obviously not be simply a question of geographical region, scale, projection, and so on, but of individual attempts at such delineation. Defining what is meant by the "same" work or deciding when a version becomes "another" work is a problem relevant to all fields. Is is a problem, however, that relates to intellectual content rather than to physical form.

Bibliographers of books have not needed a word like "ectype" because their basic terminology relates to the physical aspects of books, and different settings of type are different editions regardless of the content of what is set; when they need to discuss several editions because those editions contain the same work (and they do, of course, have to decide what texts can be regarded as versions of the same work), it seems sufficient to refer to the first edition, second edition, and so on, of that work. The trouble with a term like "ectype" is that it joins considerations of content and of form: it refers not only to a separate edition (a distinct plate) but one that at the same time is related in content to another one.


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Such a term, if a real need for it as a shorthand expression could be demonstrated and if it were precisely defined, could perhaps be condoned—though I wonder if it would not always inhibit clarity. In any case "ectype" is defined too vaguely to be of use: what is meant by saying that one map is "very similar" to another? Earlier in his paper Verner is more detailed on this matter but does not solve the problem. He explains that an ectype "will have an identical geographical and cartographical form with its prototype but differ from it in bibliographical details"—as opposed to a "derivative" map, which "may differ from a prototype in every way except the geographical information conveyed" (p. 79). This statement, in turn, is explained by adding that "an ectype will present the same geographical area at the same scale as the original it replicates, while a derivative may differ from its prototype with respect to the total area depicted, the scale, or the relationship among the bits of geographical data contained on the map." It would seem, in other words, that an ectype is an edition (and perhaps a version as well) of a work, whereas a derivative is an edition of a wholly different work that happens to draw on a particular earlier work as a source. Bibliographers will obviously need to make such a distinction; but among editions of the same work it is still not clear what advantage there is in having a term to refer to one that "may reproduce another with considerable exactitude but differ from its prototype in such detail that there is no possible chance to confuse the two." Whether a bibliographer judges a chance for confusion to exist seems an eccentric criterion of classification.

This point can be illustrated by considering Verner's fourth exclusively carto-bibliographical term, "piracy": "The term piracy applied to a particular plate of a map which is so like the original which it replicates that it is apt to be mistaken for that original but which was issued by a publisher other than the one who published the original map" (p. 86). If "piracy' 'is supposed to indicate an unauthorized edition, as the word would naturally suggest, the definition does not make the point clear. For is it not possible that an authorized publisher could use a new plate so close to the original that it is "apt to be mistaken" for it? Can an ectype—a plate "very similar" to another but clearly distinguishable from it—never be pirated? The terms are not mutually exclusive, for they mix up considerations of similarity of content with circumstances of publication. It would seem to be more sensible for the basic terms of bibliographical classification to refer strictly to physical evidence; these terms can then be modified, as the occasion warrants, with adjectives that express various other considerations, reflecting publishing circumstances or characterizing content, as in "English edition,"


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"pirated edition," "revised edition," and the like. Verner assumes that traditional descriptive bibliography does not operate in this way: the term "piracy," he claims, "has no equivalent in descriptive bibliography where a pirated edition would be identified merely as another edition." A pirated edition would certainly be another edition, but that fact does not prevent one from calling it a "piracy" as well, or a "pirated edition," and those terms are in fact used and understood by bibliographers of letterpress books. The essential point is that "piracy" describes the nature of the publication history and the publisher's motivation, and it thus refers to a different set of considerations from those that result in the designation of "edition."

Verner in effect recognizes this point when he says that a piracy "should be designated as one of the plates of the original with the added designation of Piracy, e.g., PLATE III, Piracy" (p. 79)—which is parallel to such a phrase as "third edition, pirated." The third act of engraving of a particular map (a "work"), like the third act of typesetting of a verbal work, produces the third plate or third edition of the work, whether or not it is "pirated." But these clear lines are blurred by Verner's definition of a piracy as a "copy of a map that is so like its prototype that the two might be confused." One of course hopes that a bibliography, by setting the facts straight, will provide the means for distinguishing among items that might be confused; but the bibliographer's assessment of potential confusion cannot be the basis of bibliographical classification or the determinant of a piracy. This curious emphasis recurs in other statements: "The inclusion of such piracies in the description of an original map also eliminates the possibility that the copy might be considered to be a different map, thus acquiring validity as an historical document which it does not actually possess." The acquiring or losing of "validity" does not affect classification, nor therefore the arrangement of entries implied by the classification; if a particular piracy is found to be the third engraving of a work, then it naturally falls into the position thus dictated, whether its stature is enhanced or lowered by that placement. In any case, a piracy, simply because it may have been intended to be taken for something other than what it is, does not thereby lose "validity as an historical document." It exists; it played a role in the publication history of the work; and it is therefore a historical document. The fact that it is not the first publication of the work does not deprive it of validity as a document—though of course its significance will vary depending on the purposes for which one turns to it as documentary evidence.

Verner's paper obviously serves a useful function in focusing attention on some central issues in the description of engraved material, but


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it is clearly unsatisfactory in many of the statements it makes about those issues. In regard to the central question of the relationship between carto-bibliographical description and the traditional bibliographical description of books, a more thoughtful approach had been expressed some thirty years before by Lloyd A. Brown. One paragraph of his Notes on the Care & Cataloguing of Old Maps (1941) is worth quoting in full:
The confusion of terms used in describing old maps rises from the fact that the processes employed in their production are those employed in the manufacture of the kind of print usually associated with works of art; for example, etchings, line engravings, and mezzotints, which depict scenic views, portraits and various types of still life. The natural result of this similarity of form and technique is that dealers, collectors and librarians have automatically applied the nomenclature of graphic art to old maps. And yet there have been other dealers, collectors and librarians who saw first in old maps the characteristics of printed books, pamphlets, broadsides and newspapers. It was natural for the latter group to apply to maps the nomenclature of printing, considering them first of all as publications. These two schools of thought are responsible for a steady growth of confusion in the terms employed to record descriptive data relating to maps, though both groups would probably have agreed with each other if they had been able to exchange ideas at firsthand, demonstrating concretely what feature they were describing when a given term was used. As the situation stands today, few authorities agree on the proper nomenclature to be applied to early maps. Nevertheless, if such maps are subjected to all the tests applied to the bibliography of graphic art, and all the tests employed in the bibliography of publications, per se, there is actually no conflict in the terminology commonly applied to each. Old maps must be considered from both angles if they are to be thoroughly understood and fairly appraised. (pp. 83-84)
The precise definitions that Brown proceeds to offer, though they are generally sensible, are not those regarded as standard today[18] —a fact that is not surprising, because he was writing before Fredson Bowers's Principles of Bibliographical Description (1949).[19] But the approach Brown was using is one that we should not lose sight of, for he recognized that a difference of terminology between fields is in itself a superficial matter and that one should not be hindered by the traditions of individual fields from seeing similarities of processes and concepts underlying the different terms. Verner's contention that the terminology of letterpress bibliography is "not applicable" to carto-bibliography because the conditions being described are too dissimilar is not supported by the arguments he advances. Instead, an examination of his paper makes it all the more apparent that the concepts referred to by edition, printing, issue, and state in letterpress bibliographical classification are relevant to material printed from intaglio plates as well. The usage of certain words, such as "impression," is different in the two fields, but that kind of difference


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is not really a serious obstacle to thought. Letterpress bibliographers and carto-bibliographers cannot avoid coming to terms with the concepts that are common to both fields, for they often find themselves dealing with the same physical entities—books that include, or are entirely composed of, engraved maps. The crucial difficulty is not what differences there may be between relief and intaglio printing but the shift in thinking required to move from dealing with single-sheet entities to treating composite entities (made up of more than one engraving, or more than one letterpress sheet, or engravings mixed with letterpress sheets). If bibliographers are to meet the challenges posed by their materials, they must not stress the differences in these situations but search for the larger framework that includes them both.

We can pursue this line of thinking further by turning to the other 1974 work mentioned earlier, D. W. Krummel's Guide for Dating Early Published Music. In the section entitled "Differences between Copies" (pp. 30-48), Krummel[20] takes up questions of bibliographical classification, and from the outset we know we are in the presence of a person who has given sustained and methodical thought to these matters. A carefully balanced note at the beginning reports that some music bibliographers doubt whether "the terminology of general bibliography, growing out of experience with literary texts, mostly printed from movable type, should be used for musical editions, mostly printed from engraved plates"; but it concludes unequivocally: "The present study," Krummel says, "endorses the use in music bibliography of the terms of the general bibliographer."[21] The argument leading to that conclusion


Page 17
is enlightened: "advantages are to be gained from drawing on the experience and the systematic thinking of several generations of general bibliographers, concerned with essentially the same problems." Recognition that the problems are "essentially the same" is an important step in itself. The comprehensiveness that it implies for bibliographical concepts is reflected in the definition of edition that immediately follows: "the whole number of copies printed from substantially the same printing surfaces (be they settings of type, engraved plates, or lithographic stones), at any time or times."[22] This essentially standard definition is made to include not only music but any engraved material—and, beyond that, all printed material, whether the printing surface is relief, intaglio, or planographic. The approach places engraved music—the immediate subject—in the larger conceptual framework of which it is logically a part. It recognizes that the nature of the printing surface does not alter the need for a term to refer collectively to all the exemplars representing a given act of drawing, engraving, typesetting, and so on. If this term can be identical in all fields, the chances for confusion are undoubtedly lessened; but establishing identical terms is less important than recognizing the identity of the concept to which the terms refer. The objection to Verner's term "plate," therefore, has more substance than simply the fact that it is a different word: it leads one away from the recognition of identity of concept because the word seems to direct attention to the printing surface itself, not to the copies made from it, and is awkward as a collective noun.[23] The importance of Krummel's integrative approach cannot be overemphasized; it is clearly the direction in which bibliographical thinking must proceed.

After defining edition, Krummel goes on to take up issue, state, and impression, in that order. His discussions are thoughtful, as one would expect, and (with one significant exception, to which I shall return) they reflect the standard definitions as commonly understood by letterpress bibliographers at the time Krummel was writing. His comments on issue (pp. 31-32), for example, are "quoted and paraphrased from


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Bowers" and form a fair, if highly compressed, statement of Bowers's views as represented in the 1949 Principles. They therefore emphasize "re-issue" (as opposed to simultaneous issue, the possibility of which is not suggested) and the role of the title page ("The title page is critical in determining the issue"). Since the time of Krummel's book, however, I have argued for an extension of Bowers's essentially sound definition, in order to accommodate a wider range of manifestations of publishers' intentions for creating discrete publishing units—particularly those that result from practices employed in the period of publishers' bindings.[24] It is not necessary to repeat the argument in detail here. I shall simply say that publishers can and do create issues (that is, consciously planned publishing units, intended to be recognized as such) by means that do not necessarily involve title pages—as when they insert half-titles with a new series name or use a different binding (casing) meant to identify that series. And the concept of simultaneous issue (recognized, but not extensively discussed, by Bowers) need not depend on typographical alterations, for a group of copies on large or special paper—even without any other changes—would constitute a distinct publishing unit, planned along with the regular copies and perhaps published simultaneously with them: the large-paper copies would be an issue, but not a reissue. Krummel's basic definition of issue as "a consciously planned unit" (quoting Bowers) is certainly satisfactory, as far as it goes; but it is then interpreted with undue narrowness, citing reissues and title-page alterations. One example of the emphasis on title pages: "when a number of small editions are brought together and re-issued with one collective title page (as with an opera score assembled from the separate editions of its individual selections), the item is a re-issue because of the collective title page." But it could also be an issue without a collective title page, if other means were used to segregate it as a publishing unit—a publisher's binding, for instance (as opposed to a custom binding, which would probably signify only an individual binding-up of these particular selections, rather than an issue of them by the publisher).[25] The emphasis on reissues is further evident in the comments on state, where it is asserted that "By definition, a new issue is re-issued" (p. 34).

Krummel's discussion of state raises a few additional questions. He equates state with "variant" and defines it as "any form of musical publication which exhibits variations in content caused by purposeful alteration


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of the printing surface" (p. 32). I have similarly argued, since Krummel wrote, that this concept should be broader: it should cover, in my view, any differences that the publisher does not regard as indicating a discrete publishing effort (and therefore that the publisher does not wish to call to the attention of the public). Such differences need not be in "content" or "of the printing surface"; they can be any kind of difference, whether in the printed image or the paper or the binding. Nor do they need to be "purposeful"; they can be accidents, as well as corrections of errors or attempts at improvement. Since bibliographical description aims at describing the forms of publications as they were published, it must recognize variations among copies that are inadvertent as well as those that are intended; in either case, they are differences and must be recognized. Krummel properly notes that publishers were "under no obligation to mention the changes, and in fact usually found it inconvenient and even undesirable to do so." It follows from this essential characteristic of a state that states (as opposed to issues) refer to particular constituent parts of books (a gathering, an inserted plate, the casing) rather than to whole copies of books. In this respect, Krummel's phrase "any form of musical publication," in his definition of state, is perhaps unwise, because by referring to the whole "publication" he does not clarify as much as he might the distinction between issue and state. Since for him a "new state contains a different text" (p. 34),[26] it is natural that he recommends to editors "in search of an authentic text" that they "must study all copies which make up an authentic edition to locate variant states" (p. 32). And of course this advice is correct. But his suggestion that states are of more consequence than issues to editors (with the reverse being the case for cataloguers) is perhaps stated uncautiously: distinguishing among issues, he says, "may prove quite irrelevant to the editor, since the musical text itself may be completely unchanged."[27] An issue may or may not contain textual variants (just as a state may be determined by textual or nontextual elements), but the question must be pursued in any case; the absence of textual variants does not make the existence of issues or states irrelevant to an editor, for an editor's preparation must include as full a knowledge as possible of the production and publication history of the work being edited.

The fourth standard term that Krummel takes up is impression,


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which he appropriately defines as "all of the copies as a unit run off the press at one particular time (i.e., as one 'press run')." What is striking in his treatment of impression is not the definition itself, but its placement in fourth position, following edition, issue, and state. Although he does not say explicitly in his section on impression that he regards this concept as a subordinate classification to state, the point becomes clear when he cites an example in which the "third state exists in two impressions" and when he asserts, "It is axiomatic that two copies from the same impression display no differences at all in text" (p. 36).[28] Later, in a paragraph on the "hierarchic" relationship of the four terms (p. 39), he does become explicit, providing a diagram for an example showing an edition first divided into two issues, with the first issue then divided into three states, and the first state in turn comprising two impressions.[29] This conception of impression is the major departure Krummel makes from Bowers, and it represents the principal way that readers of Krummel's discussion are likely to be led astray. One may imagine how it came about: in Bowers's treatment of the period before the eighteenth century, the sequence of terms is indeed edition, issue, and state, because in that period type was almost never kept standing, and as a result each new printing of a work was likely to be a new typesetting, a new edition; in those few cases where a new impression from standing type did occur, Bowers "most reluctantly" (see Principles, p. 394) suggested the term "issue (re-impression)." Despite this special usage, Bowers makes clear in his detailed discussion of the classification of nineteenth- and twentieth-century books that issue and state "indicate alterations which separate the sheets of some copies of a single impression from others of that impression according to certain variations" (p. 395). The practice of bibliographers, almost without exception, is consistent with this view, regarding issue and state as subordinate to impression. The standard definitions of the four basic terms do not logically admit any other hierarchy: an issue, for instance, could not consist of several impressions, for a group of copies forming a discrete publishing unit could not comprehend the output of several different press runs over a period of time. Although impression as a term is less likely to be needed for books before the nineteenth century, the concept of course applies for all periods: in the earlier periods an edition generally consists of a single impression,


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but the identity of edition and impression in those cases does not mean that the concepts have altered. Krummel's book is intended to deal principally with music between 1700 and 1860, and thus Bowers's discussions in the later part of the Principles, as well as those in the earlier, are relevant. A concept of impression that apparently derives from Bowers's idea of "issue (re-impression)" for early books is not appropriate to the classification of books from the last two centuries.[30]

Krummel proceeds to the difficult question of the integrity of copies. Although he deals with it briefly and from the point of view of cataloguers (likely the main component of his audience) rather than bibliographers, he does recognize the logical necessity of moving on to this matter. First he seeks to define copy and rather puzzlingly offers two very different definitions, adding that the second "would appear on general principles to be the better one to follow" (p. 46). It certainly is the preferable one: it defines a copy as comprising "whatever was known or likely to have been offered for sale in the earliest copy . . . including wrappers, catalogues, and the like."[31] The earlier definition takes copy to exclude wrappers, catalogues, and "other material superfluous to the content and the publishing event." But one is dealing with published items, and if a catalogue or a publisher's wrapper or casing was part of the entity as published, then it is part of "the publishing event," whether or not it is "superfluous to the content." However, the question of determining what in fact was a part of a copy as published is a central one in connection with books not in publishers' casings, especially when those books contain both letterpress and engraved material or consist of items also made available separately. As an illustration of the view that often "the precise entity is impossible to determine," Krummel cites the libretto of Don Giovanni, which "may, or may not, be seen as


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an integral part of the Breitkopf & Härtel full score (1801)." Perhaps it would be clearer to say that for books not published in bindings or casings, or not now surviving in publishers' bindings or casings, one cannot always determine which of various separable units now bound together were placed on sale originally as combined entities. It may well be in many instances (as perhaps in the Mozart example) that the units were available both singly and together; in such situations, it would not be historically accurate to think of a single "precise entity," for there would have been three or more entities. In any event, "items which are composite in their texts," as Krummel calls them, are always a problem, even when the material is all letterpress, and they are likely to pose a particularly prominent problem when engraved illustrations, maps, and music are involved. As common musical examples, Krummel mentions collected volumes of series (the title pages of which may not reflect, in date or other respects, the series as a whole), volumes containing supplements (where the presence of the supplement may be a sign of a new issue or may merely result from an owner's binding together two independent items), anthologies in which the individual pieces are printed from plates previously used in other combinations in other volumes (and perhaps carrying individual pagination), and books that draw on "the same basic 'repertory' of plates," each of them resulting from "individualized assembly for a particular purchaser, much like certain early engraved atlases" (p. 47). These all raise interesting bibliographical questions, which cannot sensibly be speculated about on the basis of a single copy—which is all that a cataloguer, by definition, is called upon to examine. Krummel's comments, then, do not explore such books in any depth ("the busy cataloguer should be satisfied with the title page, although the editor and bibliographer will want to look further"); but it is noteworthy that he calls attention to the problem, which has not been much discussed and which is central to the bibliographical treatment of books combining materials printed from different kinds of surfaces.

The contrast between Krummel and Verner could hardly be more striking. Krummel's discussion is clearly the more reasoned and thoughtful; and, even if it requires some modification here and there, it demonstrates a sound and fruitful basic approach. But the process of examining the arguments of Verner, in addition to those of Krummel, has served, I hope, to show what the principal issues are. Underlying everything else are the opposite positions these two writers take on the question whether the terms—and therefore the concepts—of classification in letterpress bibliography are applicable to non-letterpress material. The answer to this question, as I trust the present discussion has shown, cannot really


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be in doubt: the concepts that have been given the labels edition, printing (impression), issue, and state in letterpress bibliography are relevant to all printed matter, regardless of the nature of the printing surface.[32] Some of the terms themselves have not always been used in the same ways in different fields, but one should not be misled by variant usages into thinking that the concepts are different. No doubt certain terms—notably impression—will continue to be employed in more than one sense, but this situation should not be regarded as a serious problem, for the context should make the meaning clear.[33] What is of far more significance is that the concepts represented by the basic terms of letterpress bibliography be thoroughly understood by bibliographers of all kinds of material. The importance of this understanding is not simply practical—though of course there is a great practical advantage involved, since materials printed from different kinds of surfaces are often brought together in publication and must therefore be treated in a single bibliography. Rather, the importance of making these connections lies in the fact that the activities of printing and publishing are conceptually similar whatever the printing surface, and the bibliographical classification of printed matter will be misleading as historical scholarship if it does not reflect that fact. To have reached this position—as Krummel has—is actually to have taken a considerable step forward, and everything else one may say about the description of non-letterpress material rests on this basis.

Another central point is that bibliographical description in all fields must be concerned primarily with the printed items themselves, not with the printing surfaces that produced them. The bibliographer can infer certain facts about the plates, types, or stones from the finished product; but that product is the primary evidence, capable of being examined directly by the bibliographer, and is the object of the description. That the bibliographer's focus must be on the published entity is particularly obvious when one considers publications that consist of more than one unit—several letterpress sheets, or letterpress sheets joined with engraved music, maps, or illustrations. In these cases, although one must try to do justice to the component parts, one must also account fully for the composite entity, which is a fact of publishing history. Some parts of a book may have had a separate existence, as independent


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entities, outside the book; but their role within the book is nevertheless an aspect of their history, and descriptive bibliographers, whether of books or of prints, have to be prepared to deal with such items both as separate entities and as parts of books. If one thoroughly understands the concepts behind edition, printing, issue, and state, one should have no difficulty in explaining clearly and precisely the relationship between such parts of a book and the book as a whole, without in any way slighting or obscuring the history of those parts as separate items. Knowledge of the printing surfaces and processes is of course important, but what one finally is describing are not copperplates or formes of composed type but the results of an act of making public the sheets printed from them, often in combination.

The classification of a published entity, therefore, cannot be governed by the classifications that may have applied to certain of its parts that were made available to the public separately. For example, since issue and state refer to variations within printings, the insertion of a particular issue of an engraving in all copies of a given printing of letterpress sheets does not result in any differences among copies. The fact that the map, say, was also available separately—and, as a separate, was a second issue—could appropriately be pointed out in the description of the inserted plates in the volume; but the volume as a whole would simply be a first printing, one of the characteristics of which is the inclusion of a map that—as far as its own separate history is concerned— is a second issue. If some copies of the first printing of the book contained the second issue of the map and others contained the first issue, the difference would have to be taken into account in the description of the book, since there would then be a variation distinguishing some copies from others within the same printing; but the result would not necessarily be two issues of the book, simply because two issues of the separate map were involved. There would be two issues only if the use of the second issue of the map became the occasion for a separate publishing effort (indicated, among other possible ways, by a cancel title, perhaps referring to the particular issue of the map included). Otherwise there would be a single issue (that is, a single printing) of the book, in which the map appears in variant states, indentifiable as the first and second issues of the separate map. Whatever created the second issue of the separate map (perhaps a different imprint) does not create an issue of the whole book unless the publisher calls attention to it as characterizing a discrete group of copies. Similarly, if copies of a single issue of the separate map are included in all copies of both the first two printings of the volume, the result is simply two printings of the volume; the presence in them of the same issue of the map does not make all copies


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of the volume a single issue, because the letterpress sheets, containing the title leaf and other preliminaries, represent two different stages in the printing (and publishing) history of the volume.[34]

One should not conclude from these hypothetical examples that letterpress sheets take precedence over non-letterpress material in bibliographical classification. So long as we are talking about non-letterpress "insertions" into books that are largely made up of letterpress sheets, there seems nothing odd in allowing the letterpress material to play a determining role; but many books exist in which the engraved plates bulk far larger than the letterpress sheets (books of engraved music with letterpress prefaces, for instance, or suites of illustrations with brief introductory texts in letterpress). In any case, the relative quantity of the letterpress and the non-letterpress material is not the only factor to consider; equally important is whatever element—most commonly the title page—serves to define the book as an entity. Thus if a cancel letterpress title leaf, with a different publisher's imprint, is inserted into the sole letterpress gathering at the beginning of a volume consisting otherwise entirely of engraved music, a new issue is created, even though the engraved material is dominant in the volume and is invariant. If instead to accomplish the same purpose the entire letterpress sheet (gathering) were reset but the engraved music were still from the original printing, the result would still be an issue—not a new edition, even though the preliminary gathering would be a new edition, since the body of the book would still be of the original printing. Both the bulk and the title page play a role: that the reset material is such a small fraction of the volume (whether the rest is engraved is actually irrelevant) means that a new edition has not been created, even though the reset part includes the title page; and the existence of the new publisher's imprint in the


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reset part means that the reset gathering cannot be regarded simply as a variant state of the preliminaries but must be considered a sign of a new issue of the book as a whole. Many volumes, of course, contain engraved as well as letterpress title leaves, and the engraved ones, by virtue of being title leaves, form a separate category from other plates that may be present. The evidence they provide must be evaluated in conjunction with that from the letterpress title pages; if the latter are more often dominant as indicators of issue, the engraved titles can also on occasion provide the evidence, and no generalization can be made that would relieve the bibliographer of the responsibility of weighing the evidence from both.

Nor is there any point here in outlining further examples or kinds of situations: the number of possible permutations is large, and enough has been said to suggest how they can be dealt with by a consistent application of the principles underlying the basic concepts of bibliographical classification. Any system for handling non-letterpress insertions in letterpress books must be applicable as well to the more general problem of composite volumes containing items (whether or not printed from a different kind of surface) that have had an independent publication history. Judgment is involved in applying terms like edition and issue to these volumes, and bibliographers will not always agree in their assessment of complicated situations. But if they understand the basic concepts of classification and recognize the double level of classification required when independent entities are incorporated into larger entities, they are sure to clarify the publication histories of the volumes they describe. The object, after all, is to explain a course of events as clearly as possible to the reader, and one is free to use phrases and sentences in addition to the basic terms. Attempting to assign terms like edition, issue, and state should not be an exercise in applying arbitrary definitions but should be a process that allows one more clearly to see, and express, relationships. The same kinds of relationships exist among the elements of composite volumes in all fields; and asking all bibliographers—regardless of the subject matter they specialize in—to work within this one framework of classification is not to impose restrictions on them but to assist them in making their labors as productive as possible.