Shakespeare and the Book Trade
Shakespeare and the Book Trade follows on from Lukas Erne's groundbreaking Shakespeare as Literary Dramatist to examine the publication, constitution, dissemination and reception of Shakespeare's printed plays and poems in his own time and to argue that their popularity in the book trade has been greatly underestimated. Erne uses evidence from Shakespeare's publishers and the printed works to show that in the final years of the sixteenth century and the early part of the seventeenth century, 'Shakespeare' became a name from which money could be made, a book-trade commodity in which publishers had significant investments and an author who was bought, read, excerpted and collected on a surprising scale. Erne argues that Shakespeare, far from indifferent to his popularity in print, was an interested and complicit witness to his rise as a print-published author. Thanks to the book trade, Shakespeare's authorial ambition started to become bibliographic reality during his lifetime.
Table 8.4 George Chapman Table 8.5 Thomas Dekker Notes For Dekker’s dramatic corpus, see Bowers, ed., The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker.For Dekker’s authorship of the anonymously published Blurt Master Constable (1602), see Taylor and Lavagnino, eds., Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture, 444; and Lake, The Canon of Thomas Middleton’s Plays, 66–90.For Dekker’s authorship of The Noble Spanish Soldier, see the edition by John Price.According to Taylor and Lavagnino, eds., The
fiction of Shakespeare’s plays, as demonstrated in Patrick Cheney’s Shakespeare, National Poet-Playwright (2004) and Shakespeare’s Literary Authorship (2008), and in Charlotte Scott’s Shakespeare and the Idea of the Book (2007). Cheney’s studies suggest that Shakespeare recurrently fictionalized his predicament as an author, while Scott demonstrates Shakespeare’s interest in books in the fiction of his plays. Cheney’s and Scott’s readings restore a dimension to Shakespeare’s writings which
172, 210, 231 1 If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody 75, 175 1, 2 Edward IV 171, 220 Apology for Actors, An 84 editions published 37, 39, 41, 42, 245 Four Prentices of London, The 102, 220 paratext in playbooks by 100, 108 and The Passionate Pilgrim 85, 155 Rape of Lucrece, The 104, 171 reprints 49 Silver Age, The 101 Troia Britannica 84, 155 Woman Killed with Kindness, A 223 Higgs, Griffin 213 Hillebrand, H. N. 212 Hingley, Sheila 199 Hinmann, Charlton 168 Hirrell, Michael J. 161
playwrights, adding three editions to their totals, even though each of them wrote no more than a part of the play. My figures for playwrights who often wrote collaboratively thus exaggerate the amount of their dramatic writing that was available in print. Shakespeare, even though he collaborated on a number of plays, did so much less than many of his contemporaries, so what this means for my figures is that Shakespeare’s superiority in terms of the bibliographic presence of his dramatic writings
suggested that a sizeable group of publishers had significant investments in Shakespeare’s poems and plays. The overall effect of these publishers’ interest in Shakespeare was that he must have been perceived by anyone familiar with the English literature produced by the book trade as not solely a poet or solely a dramatist but both. Nonetheless, separate sections on the publishers of the poetry and the publishers of the plays have seemed appropriate: none of the notable publishers of