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Four Singletons and Half-Sheet Cc 4
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Four Singletons and Half-Sheet Cc 4

Most of the offset impressed onto the singletons A1, U1, B3, and Dd1 is from another singleton or a leaf of half-sheet Cc4. Furthermore, all the evidence offered by these copies is consistent with the singletons’ having been printed with Cc4 in the following arrangement of page settings:

Outer forme

A1r  Dd1v  Cc3r  Cc2v 
U1v  B3r  Cc4v  Cc1r 

Inner forme

Cc2r  Cc3v  Dd1r  A1v 
Cc1v  Cc4r  B3v  U1r 

The folds Cc1.Cc4 and Cc2.Cc3 occupy the positions normally occupied in an octavo sheet by 1.8 and 4.5, ensuring that, when detached, two folds left the


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half-sheet ready to be bound. The arrangement of the singletons’ half-sheet is not entirely arbitrary, for it ensured that A1r could be folded face up on the top with Dd1 on the bottom or that A1r could be protected within the fold under leaf U1, that all four rectos would be normally placed as rectos on the folded halfsheet, and, that, as in other gatherings, the first leaves of A and U often held the watermark and a tranchefile. As does other evidence, the offset inking patterns indicate that the singletons were printed in this arrangement and that they shared as described a full sheet with half-sheet Cc4. Those who wish to understand and to test the following observations and inferences are encouraged to take sheets of 8½ X 11" paper, label the leaves as indicated above, and fold them as separated half-sheets or whole sheets as indicated above and below.

To arrive at these conclusions, let us first establish that the singletons were on a half-sheet in the pattern described. To judge from the evident offset in copies examined, the half-sheet with singletons was sometimes separated and sometimes not separated from half-sheet Cc prior to folding, but, most often, as will be discussed below, the halves were separated first. This cut would save the labor of unfolding the sheet to separate the halves later.

A separated half-sheet’s first fold could be in four directions (either side could be folded forwards or backwards along its long or short axis). The most common fold for the half-sheet with singletons, usually done after the separation into half-sheets, was to bend the outer forme (that with A1r) inward along the short axis, reducing by half the longer dimension of the half-sheet. This fold brought the paired leaves A1r and U1v as well as B3r and Dd1v face to face, while leaving the pairs joined at their top edges. It accounts for combinations of offset found on two sets of facing pages in at least sixteen copies. (See Appendix 2 for a full list of offset examples identified.) Pages A1r and U1v exchange offset reciprocally in fourteen copies, while B3r and Dd1v do so in nine of the same copies, and ten overall. Several instances of offset occur in only one direction on these pages. Three times B3r shows up on Dd1v, and Dd1v appears once on B3r, A1r once on U1v, and U1v once on A1r.

When, as a separated half-sheet, this once-folded unit was folded a second time, A1v and Dd1r or B3v and U1r would have been brought face to face. The former fold led to an exchange of offset between A1v and Dd1r in CtY, FU, May3, and LdU-B (reciprocal in CtY, May3, and LdU-B), and allowed U1r, now on the outside, to exchange offset with Cc4v as occurred reciprocally in CtY, May3 and FU. The latter fold led to an exchange of offset between B3v and U1r in LU, MR2, NRU, and Ob. Presumably B3v and U1r were brought face to face in the NRU copy also, for its A1v received offset from Cc1r and its Dd1r received offset from Bb8v.


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If the unfolded half-sheet as described above was folded the opposite direction along the short axis, such that the inner forme was folded inward, then pairs A1v and U1r and B3v and Dd1r would exchange offset. This folding occurred in DLC, ICN1, OAU, and RPB copies. In DLC and OAU, both A1v/U1r and Dd1r/B3v reciprocally exchanged offset, and in ICN1 and RPB A1v has U1r’s offset and B3v and Dd1r reciprocally exchanged offset. If this folded half-sheet were folded a second time, it would result in offset exchanged either by A1r and Dd1v or by U1v and B3r. The latter fold occurred in DLC, ICN1, OAU, and RPB, where U1v and B3r exchanged offset. In DLC and RPB, A1r, left on the outside, exchanged offset with Cc4v (Dd1v lacks offset in both copies, and in both the frontispiece was stored between Bb8v and Cc1r). In OAU, A1v and Bb8v reciprocally exchanged offset, as did Dd1v and Cc1r.

Folding a half-sheet along the long axis certainly was not the common practice, but it happened surprisingly often. If the inner forme were folded inward along the long axis, then offset would be exchanged both between A1v and Dd1r and between B3v and U1r. This, in fact, happened to the half-sheet at CaOHM where A1v has offset from Dd1r, and B3v and U1r reciprocally exchanged offset. If a second fold occurred, it would place either A1r against U1v or Dd1v against B3r. In CaOHM the former is also seen: U1v has A1r’s offset. The three offset exchanges in the CaOHM half-sheet could not arise from any manner of folding the half-sheet first along the short axis.

If the outer forme of the singletons’ half-sheet were folded inward along the long axis, then offset would be exchanged between A1r and Dd1v and between U1v and B3r. The evidence for this fold involves both pairs of conjugate leaves in the NIC and NjP copies, where reciprocal offset exchanges occur between A1r and Dd1v and B3r and U1v. A second fold would place Dd1r against B3v or A1v against U1r. The former fold occurred to the NIC copy: Dd1r and B3v reciprocally exchanged offset, which left U1r on the outside of the folded unit, where it received offset from Cc4v. In NjP, there appears to be offset of a short catchword probably beginning "th" on A1v, suggesting that it was on the exterior, with B3v and Dd1r folded against each other. Just as for the CaOHM copy, so for the NIC and NjP copies no other fold but initially along the long axis can explain the offset pattern.

It seems unlikely that the initial fold of the half-sheets with the singletons was regularly along the long axis, for folding along the short axis to reduce the longer dimension at each step is the easier practice since it reduces arm work by reducing the size of the unit worked on. Furthermore, it is the conventional practice in folding a half-sheet like Cc4 into a unit ready to be bound. The preference for reducing the longest dimension by folding it at the short axis is apparent in those copies where the singletons and half-sheet Cc4 were folded together as an uncut sheet. Nevertheless, in three copies offset is recorded as exchanged between both leaf pairs facing across from one another along the singletons’ half-sheet’s long axis (NIC and NjP folding inner forme inward [A1v against Dd1r, U1r against B3v]; and CaOHM folding outer forme inward [A1r against Dd1v, U1v against B31]). Still, this long fold involves but relatively few copies with offset, for exchanges on multiple pairs of leaves and other evidence suggest at least twelve


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copies were cut into half sheets and then folded along the short axis (A1 against U1 and Dd1 against B3).5

On several occasions the singleton half-sheet was cut into quarter-sheets before being folded. This alone can explain the anomalous offset in the CSt and Owo copies. In Owo Dd1r’s offset is on A1v, and U1v’s exchanged reciprocally with B3r. Thus, the inner forme was folded inward in the first pair, but the outer forme was folded inward in the second. Since there is no evidence of resetting and reimposition, this pattern indicates that the half-sheet was cut into folds A1 .Dd1 and U1 .B3 before each was separately folded. These separate folds left A1r and B3v on the exteriors, and, stacked together, A1r and B3v received each other’s offset. In CSt the offset shows that, after cutting, A1 .D1, B3 .U1, and Cc4 were folded separately and stacked together. Offset exchanges indicate that both A1v.Dd1r and U1v.B3r were folded inward. Pages A1r and B3v, both on the outside of their folds, exchanged offset. And U1r, also an exterior page, received Cc4v’s offset. (This three-unit stack had Dd1v and Cc1r on the outside, neither receiving offset.)

Offset evidence also corroborates that the singletons and the leaves of Cc4, in positions defined above, were printed on a full sheet. The best evidence of offset exchanged within a full sheet occurs in the BrP, InU, KU, May2, May4, MB, and O-EF copies, either folded as a whole sheet prior to cutting in half or folded as if still uncut. In these seven copies the inner-forme pages of the singletons’ half-sheet bear offset from the inner forme of half-sheet Cc4. In May2 and MB all of the eight page-settings of the inner forme exchanged offset, resulting in the following pattern (bold indicates pages as actually printed; regular font indicates offset on those pages):

A 1 v   Dd1r  Cc3v  Cc2r 
Cc2 r   Cc3 v   Dd1 r   A1 v  
Cc1 v   Cc4 r   B3 v   U1 r  
U1r  B3v  Cc4r  Cc1v 

In InU and May4 seven of the eight pages in this forme received similar offset: the InU copy only lacks offset of A1v on Cc2r, and May 4 does not have offset of


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B3v on Cc4r. Six of the eight pages bear offset in the KU and BrP copies. In the KU copy, Cc2r and Cc3v do not carry offset, but they have transferred it to A1v and Dd1r respectively. BrP has all the exchanges caused by this fold except, back and forth, between B3v and Cc4r. O-EF has offset from the outermost leaves: A1v has Cc2r’s offset and U1r has Cc1v’s.

In six copies (BrP, InU, KU, May2, MB, and O-EF) the half-sheet with the singletons carries an offset exchange between the outer forme of the half-sheet (A1r with U1v and Dd1v with B3r; reciprocal in BrP, InU KU and May2; only reciprocal on the former pair in May4 and MB; and only on the latter in O-EF). This offset was exchanged as the result of a second fold: the sheet was folded such that the outer forme of the singleton half was bought down upon itself. The offset on the outer forme thus has the following pattern (bold indicates regularly printed pages; regular font indicates offset on those pages):

U1v  B3r 
A 1 r   Dd1 v   Cc3 r   Cc2 v  
U1 v   B3 r   Cc4 v   Cc1 r  
A 1 r   Dd1v 

This second fold would then have been followed by a third one. No offset indicates the direction of this fold, but it is likely to have been conventional in bringing Cc2v against Cc3r instead of Cc1r against Cc4v.

Other patterns of offset likewise provide evidence that the four singletons and the Cc4 half-sheet were printed together. The offset patterns in the seven copies just noted could have occurred were the whole sheet not cut before folding. Whatever advantages might accrue to that procedure, a disadvantage was that time would have to be spent unfolding the unit later. It is therefore not surprising that the offset patterns in most copies indicate that the printed sheet was first cut in half and then the half-sheets were folded separately.

One such pattern is evident in copies CaOHM, NIC, and NjP: here offset shows that the group of four singletons was folded along the long axis of the unit and then, in CaOHM and NIC, across the short axis. (The first fold results in these pairings of offset: A1v/Dd1r, B3v/U1r [CaOHM]; A1r/Dd1v, B3r/U1v [NIC, NjP]. In CaOHM the second fold yields A1r/U1v; in NIC, B3v/Dd1r.) The second fold and resulting offset could not have occurred without the full sheet first having been cut in half.

Another pattern of offset exchanged between pages of the two half-sheets likewise shows that the transfer could have occurred only if the half-sheets had first been separated. Except for the seven copies that seem to have been folded as full sheets, offset between the two major sections of the sheet occurs on only a single page of each half-sheet at a time. The particular pairings of pages from each half-sheet can vary, but the extant combinations preclude their having been folded while the singletons were still conjugate with half-sheet Cc4. For instance, CtY has offset exchanged between U1r (inner forme) and Cc4v (outer forme). If the half-sheets were separated, set face to face with U1r and Cc4v facing each other, and then folded together with the outer forme of the singletons inward so as to transfer offset according to the pattern A1r/U1v and Dd1v/B3r (as found in


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CtY), the resulting quarter-sheet-shaped unit could not be folded again to allow the exchange between A1v and Dd1r present in the CtY copy (because Cc2.Cc3 would intervene). CtY’s offset exchange between U1r and Cc4v had to occur after the two half-sheets were twice folded separately; subsequently U1r and Cc4v, now on the exterior of the folded half-sheets, met when they were stacked.6

In several copies with this "stacking" evidence the fact that the half-sheets were folded after being separated from each other is further attested by offset transfer within each of the half-sheets. In CtY and May3, the half-sheets were first folded in opposite directions: for the singletons half-sheet the outer forme was folded inward (A1r/U1v), while for Cc4 the inner forme was first folded inward (Cc1v/Cc2r and Cc3v/Cc4r mutually exchanged much offset). In the second folds, A1v and Dd1r were brought face to face, as were Cc2v and C3r; this positioned U1r (from the inner forme) on the outside, where it received offset from Cc4v (a page of the outer forme).


For an account of the handling of the printed sheets from the press through their being bound, see Philip Gaskell, A New Introduction to Bibliography (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1972), pp. 143-148. Gaskell’s account, as we will soon see, does not entirely fit the history of this edition, for sheets were separately folded to octavo size and collated into stacks for individual copies while still at the printer’s shop, an activity Gaskell places at the bindery.


Of sixty-nine copies examined, I noted no offset present in and from cancels and partials except between facing pages or the frontispiece in thirty-six copies: BirmU, C, CaOTU (only frtr<B7 + 1v), CLU, CLU-C (only frtr<B7 + 1v), CoU, Csj, CSmH, E, ICN2, L (only frtr<Dd1v), May1, May5, MH1, MH2 (frtr<B7 + 1v), MiU, MoU, MR1, MR3, NcU, NeU, NNU2, NStBU, O (frtr<B7 + 1v), Oa, OAshU, Occ, OCiU, OCU, O-HF, Ose, OTH, PSt, TnU (only frtr<B7 + 1v), TxU, WU. In addition, five copies, starred in the list of copy locations in Appendix i as having offset, aside from exchanges with the frt, have only one exchange between a page of the cancels and partials with another leaf: MdBJ (U1v<B3r); N (B5v<B7r); NBiSU (Pir><Dd1v [also: frtr<08v]); Ok (A1r<Cc4v); and WNs (P1r>Dd1v).


Some evidence for the long folding of both the singleton and Cc4 half-sheets is offered by CaAEU: U1v has B3r’s offset on the outer forme and Dd1r has Cc3v’s offset on the inner forme. If the whole sheet were not cut, this pattern could occur in two ways: the inner forme folded in half along the short axis, placing Cc3v against Dd1r, and then the half-sized sheet folded along the long axis inward on the outer forme of the singletons’ half, placing B3r against U1v and leaving the outer forme of Cc4 on the outside; or with three folds, accordion-like: with pages A1r and U1v on the far left folded inward atop Dd1v and B3r, and Cc2v and Cc1r on the far right folded inward atop Cc3r and Cc4v, and then the half-sheet-sized unit folded backward to place Cc3v against Dd1r and Cc4r against B3v. However, after a third fold this sheet would not be very serviceably folded for later separation and use. The alternative is to suppose the sheet was cut in half, the singletons’ half folded inward along the long axis, placing B3r against U1v, and then folding U1r against A1v, leaving Dd1r on the outside to receive Cc3v’s offset when the singletons’ half was slipped inside folded half-sheet Cc4 or when Dd1r was stacked against an incorrectly folded Cc4 with Cc3v on the exterior of the folded unit. In either case this pattern cannot be explained by a common efficient folding of the sheet or its half-sheets.