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Distribution and Order
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Distribution and Order

It has already been observed that Compositors B, C, and D frequently distributed type from the same wrought-off pages and columns. Such distribution practices are "abnormal in terms of later practice" (Hinman, II, 391) in the Folio Histories and Tragedies. They are not abnormal, however, in the context of other quires in the Comedies, such as quires N and Q, where again three compositors worked from three cases. Type-recurrence evidence in quire H raises the same question about the relative order in which individual pages were set that Hinman addressed in his discussion of quire N: to what extent did different compositors work simultaneously on pages and formes? (II, 417)

No forme in quire H was composed entirely by the same workman. Thus each forme provided an opportunity for simultaneous composition by at least two workmen and sometimes by all three. Probably the two pages of forme H2v:5 were composed simultaneously, since each page was set by a


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Summary for Quire H[7]

D distributed  -----  and set H3v(CI, free) 
C"  {G2b (BI)
{G5v upper a (FI)
{G1vb (EI) 
" H4a 
D "  {G2a(-)
{G5v lower a(-) 
and set H4b(BI) 
C "  -----  " H3a 
D "  -----  " H3b(DI) 
B "  {G5vb(-)
" H4v(EI) 
C "  {G6 lower a and upper b(AI)
" H2v(AI) 
B "  {G6 upper a[]
" H5(GI) 
D "  G6 lower b(-)  " H2a 
C "  H4va(EI)  "H2b(FI) 
D "  {G6v[]
{H3 lower a(-) 
" most of H5v(CI) 
C "  -----  " H5v lower b 
C "  {H3 middle a(-)
{H3v upper b(CI) 
" H1v
D "  H3va(-)  " H1vb(EI) 
B "  {H3 upper a(-)
{H3v lower b(-) 
" H6(BI) 
C "  H5b(GI)  " H1[] 
B "  H5a(-)
H2v upper b[] 
" H6v(DI) 
different compositor from a different case according to normal Folio practice. The same is true of H1:6v. The two columns of each of pages H4, 3, 2, and 1v were also set from different cases by different compositors and thus may also have been composed simultaneously. Furthermore, page H3 may well have been set by Compositors C and D from cases r and s at the same time Compositor B set the forme-mate page H4v from case t. The same may be true of forme H1v:6, where Compositors C and D shared composition of page H1v and Compositor B set page H6 alone. Yet the two pages of each of formes H3v:4 and H2:5v cannot have been composed at the same time, since, in each of these formes, Compositor D alone set a single page (or all but twenty lines of a single page in the case of H5v) as well as a column in the forme-mate.

There is also strong evidence in quire H of simultaneous composition of different formes. For example, in the Cr column, H1va, is a type from the middle of H3a, and types from upper H3a reappear in Bt's page H6; yet a


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type from lower H3a is to be found in Ds's share of H5vb. There can be but one adequate explanation: Compositors B and C must have begun distribution in preparing to set the fifth forme, H1v:6, before Compositor D had completed distribution in preparation for setting H5v in the fourth forme. Here is an instance of three compositors at work simultaneously on two successive formes. There are others. In the Bt page, H4v, there first reappear types from G1va and G5vb, but types from lower G5va are found in Ds's H4b and types from both upper G5va and G1vb recur in Cr's H4a. Such evidence suggests that the three compositors were sharing distribution of G1v and 5v while Compositors C and D were preparing to set H4, but Compositor B was preparing to set a page in the next forme, H4v. Centre-rule evidence also indicates simultaneous composition of successive formes. Centre rule DI was freed through distribution of page G1 in preparation for setting forme H2v:5. Yet centre rule DI was used to impose a page in the preceding forme, H3. Preparation for composition of forme H2v:5 therefore seems to have anticipated imposition of the earlier forme, H3:4v. Thus type-recurrence and centre-rule evidence indicates three instances where the compositors worked on different formes at the same time—rare instances discovered later only in quires N-Q.

Conflicting evidence is apparent in connection with the distribution of column G6b. Types from lower G6b first appear in Ds's columns H2a and H5va, but the single distinctive type from upper G6b does not reappear until lower H5vb, the work of Cr. Thus it would seem that Compositor C distributed upper G6b in preparation for completing Ds's work on H5v before Compositor D had begun work on H5v—clearly an impossibility. The simplest explanation is that Compositor C distributed upper G6b at about the same time as he distributed lower G6a, that is, in preparing to set H2v. Buried under types distributed from columns G1b and H4va and, as demonstrated above, the middle of column H3a, the single distinctive type from upper column G6b did not re-appear until Compositor C turned to finish Compositor D's page H5v.

While the production of quire H was abnormal by Folio standards, it need not be regarded as either haphazard or inefficient. This method of production must have proved useful, for it was repeated, in large part, in quire N where again there were the same three compositors at the same three cases available for work on the Folio. Another comparable example is to be found in quire G.