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The Stationers' Company and the Printers of London, 1501–1557

The Stationers' Company and the Printers of London, 1501–1557
2 Volume Paperback Set


  • Date Published: January 2016
  • availability: Available
  • format: Multiple copy pack
  • isbn: 9781316609088

£ 62.99
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About the Authors
  • This major, revisionist reference work explains for the first time how the Stationers' Company acquired both a charter and a nationwide monopoly of printing. In the most detailed and comprehensive investigation of the London book trade in any period, Peter Blayney systematically documents the story from 1501, when printing first established permanent roots inside the City boundaries, until the Stationers' Company was incorporated by royal charter in 1557. Having exhaustively re-examined original sources and scoured numerous archives unexplored by others in the field, Blayney radically revises accepted beliefs about such matters as the scale of native production versus importation, privileges and patents, and the regulation of printing by the Church, Crown and City. His persistent focus on individuals - most notably the families, rivals and successors of Richard Pynson, John Rastell and Robert Redman - keeps this study firmly grounded in the vivid lives and careers of early Tudor Londoners.

    • Based on a systematic re-examination of all known records and a search for new ones, this is the first study of this crucial period ever undertaken
    • Explains the origins of widespread misconceptions about the Stationers' Company and printers of London
    • Arranged in short chronological periods to allow changing circumstances to be seen in the context of rapidly changing times
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Blayney's book is quite an extraordinary feat of scholarship. Any future writing about this period by book historians, bibliographers, students of censorship and of press control, and literary or textual scholars will have to use his book as a starting point.' John Barnard, University of Leeds

    'Written by an author who over the course of a lifetime has become the world's leading authority on printing and the book trade in early modern (and especially early Tudor) England, this book represents a triumph and the gold standard. No one can match Peter Blayney's expertise. His book is a monumental work in every sense.' John Guy, University of Cambridge

    'Monumental … an unprecedentedly detailed view of printing in England during the previously understudied period between the innovations of Caxton and the latter half of the sixteenth century.' The Times Literary Supplement

    'A short review will inevitably struggle to convey the scope of the project and the many discoveries made, but it is an enterprise worthy of the undertaking for the simple fact that these volumes should occupy a place on the shelves of anyone concerned with, or interested in, early printing.' Carol M. Meale, The Book Collector

    '… [this] two-volume study is illuminating, engrossing [and] overwhelming … never anything less than invaluable … [lays] out with exquisite precision the formative years of the London book trade … this history should … serve as an essential reference work to be consulted for years to come. In the masterful narrative lives of Stationers great and small, in the meticulous archival and quantitative details, even in the smallest footnotes, scholars will find bountiful information and insights to enrich their own labours.' David I. Gants, The Library

    '… from now on, anyone making statements about printing, publishing, or the Stationers before the Charter had better look at Blayney, and we await, with great anticipation, the next two volumes which will take the subject up into the seventeenth century.' William Proctor Williams, Notes and Queries

    '[This book] is an expression of a quantity of archival labour and expertise that may never be surpassed: it is a great piling up of new, neglected or (Blayney's favourite category) disastrously misunderstood pieces of archival evidence.' Adam Smyth, London Review of Books

    'Blayney has sought to examine all the available evidence concerning the book trade, not least the books themselves, and to use this material to correct and revise the historical record of book production in the period and so also the history of the period itself. As in all his work, he has set himself to achieve a formidably high standard of industry, understanding, knowledge, analysis, and exposition; he has succeeded triumphantly in achieving and exceeding it.' H. R. Woudhuysen, Common Knowledge

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    Product details

    • Date Published: January 2016
    • format: Multiple copy pack
    • isbn: 9781316609088
    • length: 1288 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 65 mm
    • weight: 1.93kg
    • contains: 38 b/w illus. 4 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Volume 1:
    1. 1357–1500: historical and lexical introduction
    2. 1501–9: in the beginning …
    3. 1510–20: royal privilege and clerical scrutiny
    4. 1521–8: the Church clamps down
    5. 1529–34: the old order changeth
    6. 1535–41: a septennium of bibles
    7. 1535–41: the Company grows
    8. 1542–6: the end of Henry's reign. Volume 2:
    9. 1547–53: the reign of Edward VI
    10. 1553–7: from catastrophe to charter
    11. 1554–7: the road to incorporation
    12. 1501–57: conclusion
    Appendices: A. The founding of the Company, 12 July 1403
    B. Edition-sheets versus 'masterformes'
    C. Importation statistics
    D. Privileges, patents, and placards
    E. A surfeit of Bourmans
    F. John Day of Barholm
    G. The sites of six printing houses
    H. Maps: Fleet Street, St Paul's Churchyard, Paternoster Row
    I. Stationers' Hall and its neighbours
    J. The charter of 1557
    K. STC books (and others) included in the graphs
    Manuscripts cited
    Index of STC numbers
    General index.

  • Author

    Peter W. M. Blayney
    Peter W. M. Blayney is an independent scholar widely considered to be the leading expert on the book trade in Tudor and early Stuart London. His publications include The Texts of King Lear and their Origins (1982), which reconstructed the printing of the First Quarto in unprecedented detail, and his groundbreaking monograph, The Bookshops in Paul's Cross Churchyard (1990), which pioneered the field of book-trade topography. His controversial article on 'The Publication of Playbooks', which demonstrated that Victorian literary scholars were mistaken in believing Tudor and Stuart play-quartos to have been among the best-selling books of their day, won the Sohmer-Hall Prize for 1997. He has been awarded fellowships by Trinity College, Cambridge, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Bibliographical Society.

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