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This 16-chapter book, including the editors’ good general and section introductions and an afterword by Patrick Cheney, aims to take ‘the baton from previous studies of Shakespeare and the book trade to account for ways in which later stationers shaped Shakespeare’s authorial afterlife’ (p. 1). As the general subject of the early marketing of Shakespeare has been covered before, particularly by Don-John Dugas in Marketing the Bard: Shakespeare in Performance and Print, 1660-1740 (2006) and Andrew Murphy in Shakespeare in Print: a History and Chronology of Shakespeare Publishing (2003), the reader might wonder about the need for this book. However, Grace Ioppolo (in a 2009 review in Modern Philology) lists many areas lacking in Dugas’ book, and Murphy’s widely praised book, described by Sonia Massai in The Library in 2005 as ‘a genuinely awesome achievement’ exhibiting ‘rigorous scholarship’ (Massai should know; her 2009 Shakespeare and the Rise of the Editor has much of great value to say about the early period to 1685), covers the full chronological history of Shakespeare publishing and opens up rather than closes the field. Indeed, Massai concludes by pointing to Murphy’s ‘foregrounding of fundamental questions relating to the material processes of publication’ for future scholars. This collection is not attempting to be comprehensive but to illuminate in detail a variety of relevant topics under the general headings of ‘Selling Shakespeare’, ‘Consolidating the Shakespeare Canon,’ and ‘Editing Shakespeare.’ It also provides appendix lists of cited Shakespeare editions and Shakespeare-related publications 1640–1740 and cited Shakespeare publications before 1900. Patrick Cheney’s ‘Afterword’ in effect reviews the book, describing its structure and arguing for the three major gaps it bridges in our understanding of the subject. Adam Rounce’s mainly post-1740 ‘Editorial annotations in Shakespeare editions after 1733’ is a pleasure to read, combining solid substance with liveliness of style as he examines, with well-chosen examples, ‘notational excess’ (p. 202) and ‘emblems of baroque prolixity’ (p. 209) with the question of ‘why it is seemingly in the nature of Shakespearean annotation to accrete’ (p. 202). As he tells us, ‘By the nineteenth century, the appeal of annotated editions of Shakespeare to a certain readership would be concomitant with its alienation of another, exhausted part of its potential audience’ (p. 215). This has remained true. So many of these essays open up new areas of study or cast new light on insufficiently examined ones. Edmund G. C. King’s ‘Discovering Shakespeare’s Personal Style: Editing and Connoisseurship in the Eighteenth Century’ is particularly thought-provoking, showing how Jonathan Richardson’s terms, from Essay on the Whole Art of Criticism as It Relates to Painting (1719), ‘for defining the nature of personal style soon started to migrate from art theory into Shakespearean textual scholarship’, and demonstrating ‘convergences between literary editing, the art world and the book trade’ (pp. 136–7). Faith Acker’s ‘John Benson's 1640 Poems and its Literary Precedents’ places Benson’s much-savaged edition of Poems by Shakespeare (and unacknowledged others) in the context of its time where it looks very different; Acker establishes that Benson’s treatment of Shakespeare’s poems shows us ‘Shakespeare before Shakespeare’s later literary critics had finished establishing his grandeur and greatness’ (p. 99), much as other booksellers and indeed compilers of manuscript miscellanies had treated other poets. Anthony Brano’s ‘The 1734–5 Price Wars, Antony and Cleopatra and the Theatrical Imagination’ takes the curious case of Antony and Cleopatra. Most interesting in this essay is the consideration of the war between Tonson and Walker and the competing single-play editions of Shakespeare’s plays, most of which had not been performed for decades except in alterations. Brano’s focus is on Antony and Cleopatra, but the wider implications are there. There is a complex process of influence between the versions of the single illustration of the death scene of and performances both of Dryden’s All for Love and Garrick’s Antony and Cleopatra. One troubling aspect of this essay, however, is Brano’s citing page 46 of Murphy’s Shakespeare in Print as his source for his claim that Antony and Cleopatra was performed in 1607 and not again until Garrick’s revival of 1758–1759; Murphy’s book does not say this on page 46 or anywhere else that I could find. Both the Fourth and Fifth Folios are discussed in individual chapters, in Francis X. Connor’s ‘Henry Herringman, Richard Bentley and Shakespeare's Fourth Folio (1685)’ which argues that ‘F4 may be understood as the product of an unusual alliance between two publishers whose different motivations for publishing Shakespeare intersected’ (p. 51), that is, Herringman’s literary ambitions and Bentley’s economic ones, and Lara Hansen and Eric Rasmussen’s ‘Shakespeare Without Rules: The Fifth Shakespeare Folio and Market Demand in the Early 1700 s’. The latter begins by citing Gary Taylor’s bizarre 1989 description of the error-filled 1685 Fourth Folio as an ‘elegant and readable volume comparable in appearance to the best products of Continental printing or English eighteenth-century bookmaking’ (qtd. p. 55), an observation these authors describe as ‘oddly generous’ (p. 55) while going on to detail the numerous errors and problems noted by scholars several decades before Taylor’s writing. Among stimulating essays considering aspects of the Shakespearean book trade during this period are those by Adam G. Hooks and Claire M. L. Bourne. The former’s ‘Royalist Shakespeare: publishers, politics and the appropriation of The Rape of Lucrece (1655)’ focuses on the 1655 Shakespeare/Quarles Rape of Lucrece including, along with Shakespeare’s poem, John Quarles’s poem The banishment of Tarquin and shows how during the Civil War and interregnum both sides used the story of Tarquin and Lucrece for political purposes as a supporting myth. Bourne’s ‘Dramatic Typography and the Restoration Quartos of Hamlet’ is a striking examination of the ways in which typography could bring alive ‘aspects of performance that exceeded the words set down for the actors to speak’, mobilizing ‘the capacity of moveable type to make the extra-lexical dynamics of key dramatic moments accessible to readers’ (pp. 153–4). In ‘Cupids Cabinet Unlock’t (1662), Ostensibly “By W. Shakespeare,” in Fact Partly by John Milton’, Lukas Erne argues that the publication of this collection with its wholly false claim to Shakespeare’s name at a time when his poetry was little regarded by the book trade is attributable to the royalist aims of the bookseller John Stafford. Erne’s careless use of the term ‘sales figures’ (p. 113) is problematic and misleading when what is meant is the numbers of subsequent editions. The reprinting and detailed description of textual variants in the Milton poems is interesting but belongs elsewhere and not in a volume principally concerned with Shakespeare. This is a valuable collection with more impressive essays than I have space to mention. It both opens up and informs insufficiently covered areas in the study of both Shakespeare and the Restoration and eighteenth-century book trade. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press 2018; all rights reserved This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model)
The Review of English Studies – Oxford University Press
Published: Sep 1, 2018
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