Home
Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Publications
• Shakespeare Quarterly

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

Making Shakespeare's Books: Assembly and Intertextuality in the Archives



JEFFREY TODD KNIGHT


Scholars have long been interested in the mutability and combinability of Shakespeare's works in early print culture: how parts of Love's Labour's Lost were mixed with texts by other poets in William Jaggard's The Passionate Pilgrim (1599), or how John Benson's 1640 Poems volume changed the order of the Sonnets (and at times, the gender of Shakespeare's addressee). This article reveals that early modern book owners physically combined and compiled Shakespearean works, creating bound multi-text volumes to suit their tastes and needs. Surveying extant compilations from numerous British and American archives, I demonstrate that the combinatory activities of publishers like Jaggard and Benson reflected a more general readerly desire for flexible, adaptable works in print. These works, with each new assembly, gave rise to different juxtapositions and different forms of canonicity, many of which are surprising to us today. But in rare book archives, especially in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, most of these early compilations were disassembled, their texts rebound separately, eliminating the evidence of previous uses in favor of a Shakespearean text that looks modern: slim, self-enclosed, bound alone in fine morocco. This article argues that such assembly practices play a role in generating meaning—that the parameters of reading and interpreting Shakespeare are frequently established, and sometimes imposed, by the collectors, compilers, conservators, and curators who, in a very literal sense, make books.



Bookmark and Share   
 
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
RSS   
 
  Address:
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »
    Hours:
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
    Phone:
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623