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By Alfred W. Pollard

Initially brought in November 1915 as a chain of lectures on the college of Cambridge, this shut textual research of Shakespeare overturned the traditional equipment of Shakespearean bibliography. during this cautious learn, Pollard, a bibliographer and literary pupil, referred to as into query the long-held assumption that the early Quartos have been of little bibliographical worth as a result error, mis-spellings and mis-lineations. by means of emphasizing the efforts made to hamper printing piracy in early glossy England, Pollard argued that the Quartos are a lot in the direction of Shakespeare's manuscripts than past scholarship had allowed. Pollard, besides J. Dover Wilson, W. W. Greg and R. B. McKerrow, was once instrumental in developing the theoretical framework of recent Bibliography, and on its booklet the publication was once greeted with what's defined within the advent as 'friendly controversy'. First released in 1915, the booklet used to be revised for republication in 1920. This reissue is of the 1967 reprint.

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Extra resources for Shakespeare’s Fight with the Pirates and the Problems of the Transmission of his Text

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When Elizabeth, the year after she came to the throne, issued the 'Injunctions' of 1559, t n e Stationers' Company was still in its early days, and although reference is made to the Company in the fifty-first Injunction, which deals with books and IN T H E SIXTEENTH CENTURY 13 printing, the attitude taken up is still that of the earlier Proclamations. The Injunction reads: 51. Item, because there is a great abuse in the Printers of bookes, which for couetousness cheefely, regard not what they print, so that they may haue gaine, whereby ariseth great disorder by publication of vnfruitefull, vaine, and infamous bookes and papers, the Queenes maiestie straitlye chargeth and commaundeth, that no manner of person shall print any manner of booke or paper, of what sort, nature or in what language soeuer it be, excepte the same bee firste licensed by her Maiestie, by expresse wordes in writing, or by six of her priuie counsel: or be perused and licensed by the Archbishops of Canterburie and Yorke, the Bishop of London, the Chauncelors of both Vniuersities, the Bishop being Ordinarye and the Archdeacon also of the place, where any such shal be printed or by two of them, wherof the Ordinarie of the place to be alwayes one.

T h e author's own story is given in his dedication: ' T o the ryght worshipfull M . William Louelace, Esquier, Reader of Grayes Inne,' in which he asserts that his sense of the grossness of his style and distrust of'scornefull and carpynge Correctours' caused him rather to condemn his poems to continual! darkenes, wherby no Inconuenience could happen: than to endaunger my selfe in gyuynge them to lyght, to the disdaynfull doome of any offended mynde. Notwithstandynge[,] all the dylygence that I coulde vse in the Suppression therof coulde not suffise[,] for I my selfe beyng at that tyme oute of the Realme, lytell fearynge any suche thynge to happen A verye Frende of myne, bearynge as it semed better wyll to my doynges than respectyng the hazarde of my name, commytted them all togyther vnpolyshed to the handes of the Prynter.

Thus, even in the first half of the sixteenth century, there is no reason to think that the Stationers would in any way have courted the Printers, and on the other hand members of other companies, for instance, Grafton who was a Grocer, Whitchurch who was a Haberdasher, and John Day who is said, until 1550 or thereabouts, to have been a Stringer, seem to have been able to exercise the craft of Printing without molestation from the Stationers. But be this as it may, at the time that the Company was granted its Charter almost all the practising printers had become members of it.

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