University of Virginia Library

Cancellantia In Gathering B

Although the cancellans folds of the dedication and of the text never exchanged offset, cancellantia B2.B7 + 1 and B6.B7 exchanged offset among each other as did N1.N2 and R1.R2. Offset evidence confirms what was elsewhere shown ("Interrelating the Cancellantia," 255–258): that leaves B2.B7 + 1 and B6.B7 were printed on the same half-sheet in the following arrangement:

B6r  B7v 
B2v  B7 + 1r 

B6r and B2v were at the end of the original sheet, for tranchefiles run along their outer edges. If the two conjugate pairs so arranged were folded along the short axis of the half-sheet such that B6r was brought down on B2v and B7v down on B7 +1r, the result would be the offset pattern seen in seventeen copies, where B2v and B6r exchanged offset (reciprocal in all but May2 and Ob), as did B7v and B7 + 1r. Of course, only the B2v and B6r exchange can be offered as evidence of imposition and folding patterns, for B7v and B7 +1r would have exchanged offset after binding, from their adjacent placement in the bound book. The sensible second fold would be to bring B6v and B7r face to face and leave B2r upward, signature visible for identification. Because B6v and B7r would often exchange offset after being bound, other evidence must demonstrate this second fold occurred. In


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DLC, NRU, OAU, and RPB that evidence involves exchanges by B6v with B4r and by B7r with B5v, showing fold B4.B5 was temporarily encompassed by fold B6v.B7r. Other evidence for the second fold comes from B2r.B7 + 1v, left on the exterior to receive offset from outside the normal placement (in ICN1 and KU, B7 + 1v exchanged offset with B1r; in KU, B2r carries the offset of G8v; in RPB B7 + 1v received offset from K1r; and in NNU1, B7 + 1v has N1r's offset). No copy's offset shows that the second fold was made in the other direction, a circumstance that would have required refolding later.

One might suppose that all copies would have the cancellans B half-sheet folded in the sensible fashion just described, but many do not. Apparently, about a third of the time the half-sheets lay upon the table facing the folder with what might be called the outer forme upward:

B2r  B7 + 1v 
B6v  B7r 

Folding this half-sheet forward along the short axis, with B2r against B6v and B7 + 1v against B7r, would produce the offset pattern seen in six copies (CSt, CtY, IU, LdU-B, NIC, and ViWCF); all but one (ViWCF) have offset exchanged by both pairs of facing leaves. The exchanges are reciprocal between B2r and B6v within CSt, CtY, IU, LdU-B, and NIC, and reciprocal for the other pair in CSt, IU, LdU-B, and NIC. In NIC the second fold led to reciprocal exchanges between B6r and B7v, which left B2v and B7 + 1r on the outside (B2v subsequently transferred offset to B1r, and B7 + 1r transferred offset to L8v). In most copies with this same initial fold, the second fold turned B2v against B7 + 1r: B2v bears the offset of B7 + 1r in CtY and ViWCF, and the exchange is reciprocal in CSt, IU, and LdU-B). This double-fold left B6r.B7v on the exterior, able to exchange offset with the leaf of another printed unit, as B6r did with B5v in ViWCF, for example, and B7v exchanged offset with B1r in CtY and LdU-B. Copies with offset on B6r or B7v from outside the unit may provide evidence for the inefficient folding.

The inefficiency of leaving B6r.B7v on the outside of the folded unit is curious. It might be that the workman wasn't paying attention and continued folding as if he were still facing the inner forme, or perhaps he was aware of the inappropriate orientation of the half-sheet, having noted the signature "B2," but was too lazy to flip the half-sheets over or raise the center and fold. If the worker did not care that he was making a fold that would have to be unfolded, it is unlikely that he was the same fellow who would eventually bind the stacked sheets into a book, when the difficulty would have to be dealt with. The diversity of folding patterns might reflect multiple workers, or it might simply indicate a single individual rebelling against the redundancy of his task.


Similarly, in DLC and RPB copies, where offset exchanges occurred within the inner forme of the singletons' half-sheet, A1r on the outer forme has offset of Cc4v. In DLC, offset records two foldings of the singletons' half-sheet, with reciprocal exchanges in the first fold between A1v.Dd1r on the one hand against U1r.B3v on the other, and then U1v against B3r. The exchange between A1r and Cc4v in that copy therefore could only have occurred after the two half-sheets were cut apart and separately folded. In the RPB copy the singleton's half-sheet was certainly folded twice separately (five of the eight pages bear offset from other pages of the unit); here, the exchange between A1r and Cc4v can only be explained by supposing the two half-sheets were folded twice separately, A1r ending up on the outside and stacked against Cc4v. The NIC copy has offset linking U1r and Cc4v, but its singletons' half-sheet was folded twice separately, first along the long axis.