University of Virginia Library

Gathering the Sheets

Setting aside the method by which N1.N2 and R1.R2 were folded, we turn to two interesting facts: both folds were placed together (no copy has evidence of their being stacked apart), and they were routinely inserted into the folded stack between sheets Z and Aa (twenty-three copies have offset exchanged by either R1r or N2v with either Z8v or Aa1r). Only in a few copies do folds N1.N2 and R1.R2 have offset from any other leaves than each other or Z8 and Aa1.8 The offset recorded for the N and R cancellantia therefore also raises the question of whether the placement in the stacked sheets reflects when the cancels were printed relative to the last gatherings. It is unlikely that they were printed before sheet Aa, for Young and Samuel Richardson's correspondence indicates that the press had Young's corrected sheets Aa and Bb before Young decided what to do with the preliminaries and the N and R cancellantia.9 But it seems possible


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that these partials were routinely inserted between the same folded sheets of a book to aid the binder in locating them and to double check that all units were included. If the folded sheets that were stacked to be bound as one copy had the first printed sheets on the bottom, then it would have been easiest to place the late-printed partials and cancels into divisions toward the end of the signature sequence (between sheets at the top of the stack). Placing them after Z would put them in a convenient position: at the end of an alphabetical sequence, and also possibly at the end of a conventional number of sheets gathered in the warehouse as a unit. (Gaskell reports that the sheets of long books initially "were divided in quires of 12–24 sheets" [p. 144n.]). However, the position of other late-printed partials within the stack does not assist the hypotheses that the N and R cancellantia were printed after sheet Z and before Aa or that partials were routinely placed after sheet Z.

The half-sheet with B cancellantia and the four original leaves for B were commonly inserted into the stack of folded sheets together. In at least fifteen copies offset was exchanged by original B leaves and the leaves of the B cancellans half-sheet. Though gathered together, the eight leaves were not yet rearranged into the order in which they were bound (for instance, B1v and B4r exchanged offset in CaOHM, CSt, and FU; B5v and B7r in DLC, N, NRU, OAU, Owo, and RPB; and B5v and B8r in CSt, CtY, FU, KU, May2, May3, May4, MB, NNU1, and ViWCF). Also, cancellans B3 was almost never inserted in the stack with the original or cancellans B sheets (in no copy is pre-binding offset found exchanged between B3 and other B leaves). Unlike the N and R cancellantia, the half-sheets with the B cancels and singletons were stacked in no single position. As offset in many of these copies shows, the other eight leaves of the B gathering were inserted in various positions between sheets G and N: after G in KU (G8v>B2r), after H in MB (I1r<B7 + 1v), after I in RPB (I8v<B1r and K1r>B8v), after L in DLC (L8v>B1r) and NIC (L8v<B7 + 1r), and after M in NNU1 (M8v>B1r). Note that the position of the B cancels closer to the front of the stack sheets might suggest they were printed before the N and R cancellantia.

Offset in some copies shows that the B cancels were gathered and stacked beside the singletons; for instance, in copy O, in addition to B6r's receiving Dd1v's offset, B7 + 1r's offset was transferred to the recto of the frontispiece—it appears as if Dd1 was slipped in between B2v and B6r, and the frontispiece was slipped in between B7v and B7 + 1r. But the leaves of the singletons and Cc4 do not bear offset showing they were inserted while damp into the stacks of folded sheets.

The frontispiece was stacked sometimes with the dedication leaves (it received offset from B7 + 1v in at least seven copies (BirmU, CaOTU, CLU-C, MH2, O, PSt, and TnU), sometimes with the singletons half-sheet (as in CtY, E, L, and


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MiU), and sometimes with Cc4 (DLC and RPB). The frontispiece and whatever it was gathered with ended up inserted in diverse places (and not regularly after sheet Z). Offset indicates that the frontispiece was inserted after X8r in MR2, after Aa8v and before Bb1r in LdU-B, and after Bb8v and before Cc1r in DLC and RPB. The singletons (B3 stayed with them) and half-sheet Cc4, often with the frontispiece, were placed sometimes between sheets O and P (in NBiSU and WNs Dd1v exchanged offset with P1r, and in NBiSU the recto of the frontispiece has O8v’s offset, too).

Finally, I would stress that the offset is being exchanged between pages in full sheets and half-sheets that have been folded completely into leaf-size units. Contrary to what Philip Gaskell describes as the routine process,10 in these copies offset is never exchanged between sheets folded in half and tied for the bindery for further folding by a binder. Rather, sheets were apparently folded, thrice for whole sheets, until they were reduced to octavo size. That is evident from much offset evidence regarding the stacking, such as from the offset of cancellanda on M8v, Q8v, and T8v, where offset was transferred because the sheets had been folded and collated to form books prior to the cancellations of N1, R1, and U1. Usually the partials printed together were inserted into this stack prior to their separation. However, sometimes offset indicates half-sheets of cancellantia were further cut into quarter-sheets before being inserted into the stacked sheets.


In Owo, N1r transferred offset to B8v; in ViWCF, R2v exchanged offset with Bb1r; and in CaOHM, R2v exchanged offset with Bb8v (but in CaOHM Aa1r has Y8v's offset, indicating that sheet Z was not stacked its proper place).


We know from Richardson and Young's correspondence that sheet Z was printed before 21 January 1755 and that N1.N2, R1.R2, and sheet Aa were not yet printed (The Correspondence of Edward Young 1683 —1765, ed. Henry Pettit [Oxford: Clarendon, 1971], pp. 416 419). In listing corrections needed in future editions, Richardson's letter of 21 January 1755 refers to the text as far as p. 325 (Z3r), making no suggestions for sheets Aa and Bb (pp. 416–417). In his undated response to Richardson, Young asks that "this last sheet [be seen] again before working off" (Pettit, p. 418). That sheet was probably Aa, but could have been Bb, to judge from remarks in a subsequent undated letter. In that letter, which Pettit dates four days later on 26 January 1755, Young remarks, "Tomorrow I expect the last Sheet" and promises, when he returns it, to speak of what to do about the dedication and the N1-N2 materials that Richardson would delete and alter (pp. 418–419). Thus, Young wished to complete full text sheets before dealing with partials and cancels. Finally, that the N cancels have the highest frequency of offset exchanges suggest they were the dampest unit when folding began, and thus the last printed.