University of Virginia Library


Throughout most of the Folio, one group or set of groups will give way gradually to the next with evidence of mixing at the transition points. Occasionally the change among types of paper used will be abrupt, as is the case when production shifted from material owned by one investor to another. However, such a sudden change may also indicate a possible disruption or delay in printing. When these abrupt shifts correlate with similar evidence of interruption such as changes in headlines or typography, then we can begin to develop confidence in the probability of these suppositions. In particular, this type of evidence can shed further light on three problematic sections in the Folio: the order of the settings of gathering 2Y, the timing of the resetting and printing of the initial gatherings of Every Man out of His Humour, and the delay in printing the first play of the collection, Every Man in His Humour.

When Percy Simpson edited Epicoene for the Oxford Ben Jonson, he as-


Page 132
sumed that Jonson would have insisted his large presentation copies contain as few flaws as possible; consequently, Simpson adopted the dictum that the large paper copies always reflected the latest, most-corrected state of a forme (5:148-149). Because gathering 2Y exists in two settings, one on regular paper and one on large paper, Simpson identified the large-paper setting as the later one. In his review of the Oxford edition in 1957, Johan Gerritsen used arguments based on evidence from recurring headlines to reverse the order of settings (121). The paper evidence supports Gerritsen's version, for the sheets in the large paper copies all show a nearly unbroken string of marks from the Groups D1 and D2 running from gatherings 2S through 3F. On the other hand, the regular paper copies show a disruption in paper usage between gathering 2X and 2Z, with most of 2Y printed on stock not found in the current sequence. Gerritsen also posited that the printing of the second setting took place between gatherings 3E and 3F ("Stansby," 54). Again, the paper evidence bears out and expands somewhat Gerritsen's conclusions. Reset sheet 2Y3.4 bears mostly marks from Group 12, with a few from Group 8, placing it sometime during abrupt changes in paper stocks used for gathering 3C and sheet 3D1.6—the prior contains mostly Group 12, while the latter bears almost exclusively Group 8 watermarks. Reset 2Y1.6 shows mostly Group 8 with a few sheets from Group 13, a mixture that appears elsewhere only at 3D3.4. Finally, reset 2Y2.5 exhibits paper from Groups 5 and 10, with a few rare appearances from groups 12 and 19. This closely matches the mixture of paper groups used in sheets 3E3.4 and 3F1.6. It appears, then, that the printing of reset 2Y was concurrent with the printing of gatherings 3C-3F, and that the reset gathering was printed inner sheet first, followed by the outer and then the middle:

Sheet:   3C3.4  3D1.6  3D2.5  3D3.4  3E1.6  3E2.5  3E3.4  3F1.6 
2Y3.4  2Y1.6  2Y2.5 
Paper roup 

While the completion of reset gathering 2Y apparently took place fairly quickly, the resetting and printing of the initial pages of Every Man Out seems to have been a much more complicated affair. Kevin Donovan's work on headlines indicates that Stansby printed reset sheets G1.6 and G2.5 first after finishing Every Man Out gathering P, and printed reset G3.4, H, and I3.4 at a later time.[12] Riddell subsequently examined the paper use patterns based on a smaller sample of Folios and found that his evidence supported Donovan's conclusions regarding sheets G1.6 and G2.5 ("Printing," 156). Because the stocks upon which the reset G3.4, H, and I3.4 were printed were either too common (Group 11) or unique in the Folio (Group 37), he could not identify


Page 133
when those remaining five sheets were printed. Nor does headline evidence reveal anything about these sheets, for their resetting and printing did not occur while the Folio was at press but rather were put off until later. In this case an examination of the paper stocks used in volumes printed immediately after the completion of the Folio is most helpful.

The clearest evidence for dating is found in gathering H; as Riddell noted, the watermarks on these sheets appear nowhere else in the Folio. This paper Group 37 surfaces in a number of other works printed by Stansby with imprint dates of 1617, constituting the first two quires of Joseph Hall's A Recollection of such Treatises (STC 12707), the first half of Richard Hooker's Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie (STC 13716), and the middle section of Samuel Purchas's immensely popular Purchas his Pilgrimage (third edition; STC 20507). In each of these works, as in the Folio's gathering H, the paper group appears as a distinct, intact run rather than as remnants spread out over a long period. If this paper group came into Stansby's shop as a well-defined bale, as seems to have been the usual practice during production of the Folio, then we can surmise that Stansby paused in the middle of the massive Purchas folio to print the reset sheet from Every Man Out, then began the Hooker and Hall volumes.

Sheets G3.4 and I3.4 are more problematic as they are both printed on paper from Group 11, a fairly common type of paper in the Folio. Looking only at paper used in the Folio, Riddell surmised that G3.4 "was set at about the same time that the last two plays, The Alchemist and Catiline, were going through the press." He also supposed that the other four reset sheets "were run off more or less together, probably at the same time as G3.4" ("Printing," 156). However, an examination of the paper used in other titles Stansby printed during and immediately after the Folio was at press helps us align the reset sheets within the larger production schedule. Headline evidence shows that these Folio sheets were probably printed together but not imposed in a skeleton forme used to print the rest of Jonson's Workes ; the paper use sequence shows this same Group 11 was the dominant stock used to print the first part of the Purchas volume. In addition, in 1617 Stansby printed the first two-thirds of Davids Learning (STC 23827), a commentary by Thomas Taylor on Psalm 32, on Group 11 stock, while the remaining third plus preliminaries are on Group 37. Judging from the sequence of paper use in these works, Stansby printed sheets G and I3.4 first, followed by gathering H, and did so while he also was printing the Taylor and Purchas volumes, and just before he began those of Hooker and Hall.

In the two cases just discussed, evidence drawn from the use of distinct stocks of paper further illuminates earlier insights into how the resetting of pages was handled in Stansby's printing house. However, the case of Every Man In involved not a resetting but rather a delay in printing. Headline evidence indicates that printing of the play took place in two phases, with its first gathering A printed between the middle of Epicoene (2X5-3D6), and the remaining gatherings B-F between Catiline (3L4-3S4) and Epigrams (3S5-3Z1). The outer and middle sheets of gathering A consist of paper from Group 12, while the inner sheet is a mix of Groups 5 and 12, distribution that matches


Page 134
paper used during gatherings 2Z through 3C of Epicoene, as expected. Riddell's examination of paper use supports the headline evidence here as well.

The remainder of Every Man In was printed on a mixture of paper groups, in particular a number of rare types, allowing us to expand upon the outline derived from the headlines. When setting and imposing this play, Stansby's men employed the rules from the skeleton formes used in the printing of Catiline to print the final five gatherings B-F, allowing us to place the production of this section after the completion of gathering 3R. However, a closer analysis of the complicated distribution of paper in these gatherings reveals that printing may not have advanced in a straightforward fashion, with B-E printed concurrently with the Epigrams and F not printed until early in the Masques (4F3 ff.).

The dominance of Group 12 paper in most of gatherings C, D, and sheet E3.4 correlates with paper distribution in 3R, and supports the supposition that they were printed at the end of Catiline. Sheet C1.6, however, contains sheets from Groups 16, 25, and 33 in a mixture that does not come into the Folio until 3V3.4, well into the printing of the Epigrams. Likewise, sheet B1.6 shows the presence of Group 25, placing it at the same time as 3V3.4. Next, sheets B3.4, B2.5, and E2.5 have a mixture of Groups 6, 7, 11, and 12 that place them at the same spot in the production sequence as sheet 3X3.4, also in the Epigrams. Closing out this middle section of Every Man In, sheet E1.6 has a number of marks from Group 15, a lot of paper that does not come into use until 3Z, late in the Epigrams. The last gathering in this play, F, comprises paper from Groups 6, 7, and 11 in a ratio that matches the paper use only in 4I, the end of Hymenaei (4G6-4I5).

For most of the Folio, paper and headline evidence indicates that printing proceeded in a relatively orderly fashion, with gatherings usually printed in the order they were to be bound. With the printing of Every Man In, however, paper use patterns point to a rather more jumbled sequence. Stansby began by printing gathering A concurrently with Epicoene. He then seems to have printed concurrently with the Epigrams all of D, the inner and middle sheets of C, and the inner sheet of E. He then printed the outer sheets of B and C, followed by the remainder of B along with E2.5, and completed this section with E1.6. He then put off the final gathering until he was well into printing the Masques. That Stansby chose to print these sheets out of sequence indicates that something may have occurred to force him into this more complicated procedure.

Critics have for more than 100 years discussed the dating of the revisions Jonson made to Every Man In, citing internal and external evidence to support proposed dates ranging from 1604 to 1613.[13] James Riddell has argued that Stansby was forced to put off the printing of Every Man In until late in the Folio because Jonson had not yet completed his final alterations.[14] While not conclusive, the sequence of printing that I have constructed from the


Page 135
paper evidence supports Riddell's dating of the revision concurrently at least in part with the Folio's production. The breaking up of the play's printing into three separate pieces, one in the middle of Epicoene, one during the early gathering of the poems, and one in the middle of the masques, as well as the general postponement of the play's printing despite its initial place in the Folio, indicates that Stansby may not have had the completed manuscript when work began. Furthermore, the jumbled order in which gatherings B-E went through the press signifies that Jonson may have been sending pieces of the manuscript to Stansby when he completed the revision, irrespective of overall order. With completion of the Folio looming, one can easily imagine Jonson scrambling to finish the promised revisions before Stansby sent the manuscript to the compositors. There is also contemporary evidence that Stansby sent pages to his authors for correction, so the idea that Jonson both corrected and revised during the printing of his Workes is not unreasonable.[15]

Overall, the picture that emerges from the preceding observations shows a printing house bustling with activity, and Stansby himself appears as a master at organizing work. The methods and procedures behind these observations also demonstrate the potential of blending traditional bibliographical scholarship with the tools of digital technology and point to new ways that scholars may build upon the work of their predecessors.