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Quire H
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Quire H

Compositors and Cases

Quire H provides the point of departure for this study because here for the first time in five quires Hinman discerned a largely intelligible pattern of type recurrence, and here later scholars have achieved substantial, if not total, agreement regarding compositor identification. Hinman recognized two compositors, B and D, at work, as well as many indications "that all the non-B pages were set from one case . . . and that H4v, H5, H6, and H6v [Compositor B's pages] were set from a different case" (II, 390). Howard-Hill later detected Compositor C's work on H1, 1va, 2b, 2v, 3a, and 4a; O'Connor agreed to these re-attributions but also gave H3v and the last twenty lines of H5v to Compositor C. Howard-Hill's discovery that three different compositors, B, C, and D, all worked on quire H introduces the possibility that the three may have worked from three different cases here, just as they did in quires N-Q (Hinman, II, 414-438). Without the knowledge that three compositors were at work, Hinman overlooked the possibility of three cases, but in his differentiation of Compositor B's case from the case used to set the non-B pages, Hinman provided the key to separating the cases used by B's fellow compositors. Hinman observed that in quire H Compositors B and D "commonly distributed type from the same wrought-off pages. As a rule they concerned themselves with different whole columns of those pages. As a rule but not always. Types from upper G6a reappear in H5 [B's page], a type from lower G6a goes to the forme-mate page [H2v, now known to be the work of Compositor C]. . . . Distribution practices that are not ordinarily in


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evidence in most of the Folio, in short, are certainly in evidence here" (II, 390). In evaluating the possibility that each of the three quire-H compositors used a different case, we must entertain the second possibility that, not just Compositors B and D, but all three compositors may have shared distribution of the same pages and columns.

Table I, a revised form of Hinman's graph for quire H, demonstrates that the quire was indeed set from three cases.[5] Since Hinman has already differentiated Compositor B's case from the others (II, 390-391), I shall concentrate only upon distinguishing from one another the cases used by Compositors C and D. For example,

i) Column G5b provides types to Compositor D's columns H3b and H4b as well as to the disputed page H3v (see lines 2, 3, 7.1, 8.2, 9.3, and 11.2 of Table I), but none to any page or column accepted by all scholars as set by Compositor C. Lower column G5a provides a type to each of Compositor C's page H2v and column H4a (see lines 5 and 17 of Table I), but none to any page or column set by Compositor D and none to H3v. However, upper column G5a does provide types to page H3v (see lines 1.1 and 1.2 of Table I). Had all of page G5 been distributed into a single case from which both Compositors C and D worked, we might expect that at least one or two of the nine identifiable types in quire H drawn from column G5b and upper column G5a would recur in pages or columns set by Compositor C. None does recur. Yet the presence of types from lower G5a in Compositor C's work confirms and extends Hinman's observation that the compositors of quire H sometimes shared distribution of the same columns from wrought-off pages. The observation is extended further in many of the following examples.

ii) Column G4b provides a type to each of Compositor D's columns H3b and H5va (see lines 8.2 and 23.2 of Table I), but to no page or column set by Compositor C; column G4a provides a type to each of Compositor C's column H3a and page H2v (see lines 11.1 and 18 of Table I), but not to any column or page set by D and not to the disputed page H3v. This evidence suggests that Compositor C distributed column G4a into one case, and Compositor D distributed column G4b into another.

iii) Lower column G6b also furnishes types to Compositor D's H5va as well as to his column H2a (see lines 22 and 23.2 of Table I), but to no work set by Compositor C, although upper G6b furnishes a type to the disputed lower column H5vb (see line 23.1) and lower G6a furnishes a type to Compositor C's page H2v (see line 18).

iv) Lower column H3a furnishes types to Compositor D's upper column H5vb and column H1vb (see lines 8.1 and 9.2), whereas only the middle of H3a furnishes a type to a column set by Compositor C, column H1va (line 9.1).

v) Column G2b furnishes types to Compositor C's H2v, H3a, and H4a


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(lines 5, 8.1, 9.1, 9.2, 10 and 18), but to no non-C page, nor to the disputed page H3v. Column G2a furnishes types to H3b and H4b (lines 4 and 11.2), that is, to two columns set by D but to none by C.

vi) Column G1vb supplies types to Compositor C's H1, H3a, and H4a (lines 5, 7.2, 11.1, and 26), but to no work set by D, nor to H3v.

vii) Column H4b supplies types to Compositor C's H1 and H1va (lines 4 and 6), but not to Compositor D's H1vb and not to H3v.

viii) Column H4va supplies types to Compositor C's H1va and H2b (lines 12 and 13), but none to Compositor D's columns on the same pages, H1vb and H2a, and none to H3v.

Table I also shows that the upper parts of G2vb (l. 10), G3vb (l. 26), G5va (ll. 5 and 18), and H3vb (l. 1.1), as well as all of G1b and H5b (ll. 18 and 19), supplied types only to Compositor C's undisputed pages and columns. Lower column G5va (l. 6) and all of G6v, H3b, and H3va (ll. 1.2, 8.2, 9.3 and 23.2) supplied types only to Compositor D's undisputed pages and columns; the middle of G4vb provided one type to Compositor D's H2a and another to disputed page H3v (ll. 3 and 22); and the middle of G2vb and lower G3a furnished types to H3v alone. Thus type-recurrence evidence indicates that while Compositor C worked from one case, Compositor D worked from another. It further indicates that the disputed page H3v was set from the case at which Compositor D set his portion of quire H. In order to accept such overwhelming type-recurrence evidence, we need admit only the assumption that the three compositors distributed different columns of the same pages and different parts of the same columns, the very assumption Hinman required in order to distinguish Compositor B's case from the single other case Hinman believed was in use during work on quire H. On the basis of type-recurrence evidence in quire H alone, it is not yet possible to identify any of the three cases as the familiar x, y, and z cases. Thus I have used the case designators r, s, and t in Table I.

Case differentiation can be put to immediate use in resolving the dispute over compositor attributions for page H3v and lower column H5vb, assigned to Compositor D by Howard-Hill, to Compositor C by O'Connor. On H3v, as O'Connor noted, "the traditional evidence of doe, goe, here/heere is inconclusive . . . because of the number of long lines requiring justification" ("Compositors D and F," p. 91). As a result, scholars have been forced to rely on ambiguous spelling and spacing evidence. In assigning H3v to Compositor C, O'Connor could depend only on a single spaced terminal comma, a single indented two-line stage direction, three instances of you'll, and the contractions ye , and yu , and yt . These features are all characteristic of Compositor C but are also found in pages set by Compositor D or by Compositor F whose work is often difficult to distinguish from Compositor D's. For example, Compositor D's pages, like Compositor C's, sometimes contain spaced terminal commas: Q6, set from case z, has four. Compositor F set yu (D3) and you'll (B4v, B5, E3) and indented a two-line stage direction (A5). In denying H3v to Compositor D, O'Connor remarked on the absence of that


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compositor's preferential terminal -ie spellings, although in D's pages the ratio of-ie/-y spellings varies widely even for selected words: on N6v the ratio is 3:1, but on L5v it is 1:3 (O'Connor, 96). As O'Connor correctly acknowledged, "no piece of [the evidence for Compositor C] is conclusive by itself" (p. 91). With the demonstration above that H3v was set from the case at which Compositor D stood during composition of quire H, there is no longer any need to deny him this page. Indeed the assignment of H3v to Compositor D is confirmed by the page's thirty-six indented flow-overs cited by Howard-Hill in support of Hinman's original attribution of this page to Compositor D.[6]

Case identification provides less decisive evidence for lower column H5vb (Err., 1235-54). Whereas everyone has agreed to assign the rest of H5v to Compositor D, O'Connor attributed the last twenty lines of H5vb to Compositor C. These lines contain the spellings wee'll and gon, both strongly characteristic of Compositor C, according to O'Connor. The lines also contain one distinctive type, d24, last observed by Hinman in upper column G6b (see Table I, l. 23.1). Although four other distinctive types from G6b recur in Compositor D's pages of quire H (see Table I, ll. 22 and 23.2), all four come from lower G6b. Thus it is entirely possible that Compositor D distributed only the lower part of column G6b, while Compositor C distributed the upper part. If such is the case, Compositor C might well have set lower column H5vb. On the basis of type-recurrence evidence alone, it is equally possible, however, that Compositor D distributed all of column G6b and set all of page H5v. Only a combination of type-recurrence evidence with spelling evidence—a combination essential to compositor identification—makes it probable that Compositor C set lower column H5vb.

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.

Anomalous Types

It is remarkable that three compositors often distributing type from the same pages and columns at the same time failed to produce in quire H even one anomalous appearance of a distinctive type. Instead it now becomes possible to explain two anomalous appearances of distinctive types recorded by Hinman. Upon discovering two distinctive types from upper H3a in Compositor B's H6 (p 27 and N22 in Table I, l. 10), Hinman concluded that "B's


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labours for H6 can hardly have been simultaneous with D's for H5v and we cannot well suppose that Compositor D began his distributing of H3 at some point near the middle of H3a, leaving the first twenty-five lines or so standing for B to distribute later. How we can best account for the presence of types p27 and N22 in H6 is hard to say, but they evidently got into B's case in some irregular manner" (II, 392). With the discovery that quire H was set by three compositors working from three cases, often simultaneously on different formes, the appearance of these types need no longer be regarded as anomalous. Compositor B's "labours for H6" probably were simultaneous with D's for H5v, just as, somewhat earlier, Compositor B's work on H4v probably coincided with the work of Compositors C and D on H4.