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Look Inside Shakespeare and the Rise of the Editor

Shakespeare and the Rise of the Editor

$49.99 (C)

  • Date Published: January 2012
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521287272

$ 49.99 (C)

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About the Authors
  • Sonia Massai's central claim in this book is that the texts of early printed editions of Renaissance drama, including Shakespeare's, did not simply 'degenerate' or 'corrupt' over time, as subsequent editions were printed using the immediate predecessor as their basis. By focusing on early correctors of dramatic texts for the press, this book identifies a previously overlooked category of textual agents involved in the process of their transmission into print. Massai also challenges the common assumption that the first editor of Shakespeare was Nicholas Rowe, who published his edition of Shakespeare's Works in 1709. The study offers a 'prehistory' of editing from the rise of English drama in print at the beginning of the sixteenth century to the official rise of the editorial tradition of Shakespeare at the beginning of the eighteenth century.

    • Includes twenty photographs of rare annotated printed playbooks, giving visual examples of how early modern readers corrected their copies of printed playbooks
    • Six case studies of a selection of early printed playbooks, including Shakespeare's quarto and folio editions
    • Shows how early modern preparation for press has impacted on current editorial theories and practices
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The care with which Massai embraces the strengths of past scholarship while tactfully demolishing frequently reproduced assumptions is emblematic of the quality of her scholarship: she is rigorous in assessing and weighing the available evidence, but she is careful never to claim more than her data can bear."
    -Helen Smith, University of York

    "Throughout the book, the changes she identifies demonstrate that annotating readers were thoroughly at home in the fictive world of the play and displayed a clear grasp of dramatic logic and playhouse conventions, providing speech prefixes, altering stage directions, and emending misreadings or difficult cruces in the dialogue. Massai draws on contemporary annotations from a variety of sources to demonstrate the type and nature of changes made by readers before turning to the question of whether these practices could be associated with the printing house."
    -Helen Smith, University of York

    "Her book thus stands as further testimony to the current tensions between the financial, pedagogical, and formal need for editors to make hard choices between different possibilities and the expanding array of scholarship that argues the need to investigate and value every version of a given text. Massai’s book is a tremendously important contribution to the latter field, and in some ways her determination to close with a consideration of the significance of her findings for editorial practice downplays the broader interest and relevance of this book, which not only provides a crucial prehistory of editing but makes a fascinating contribution to histories of the book, of reading, and of collaboration and appropriation."
    -Helen Smith, University of York

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521287272
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 14 mm
    • weight: 0.36kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Rise of English Drama in Print:
    1. English humanism and the publication of early Tudor drama
    2. Italian influences on the publication of late Tudor drama
    Part II. The Rise of Shakespeare in Print:
    3. The Wise Quartos (1597–1602)
    4. The Pavier Quartos (1619)
    5. The making of the First Folio (1623)
    6. Perfecting Shakespeare in the Fourth Folio (1685)

  • Author

    Sonia Massai, King's College London

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