Aaron Pratt HARRY RANSOM CENTER
Before the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio in 1623 and the efforts of subsequent editors and critics, England’s printed playbooks were considered “riff raff,” connected more with the world of London’s popular theaters than with what we might think of as “capital-L” Literature. Or so we have been told. This lecture will offer the beginnings of a new narrative that places quartos at the center rather than on the periphery of literary culture in Elizabethan and Jacobean England.
Aaron T. Pratt is the Carl and Lily Pforzheimer Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at the Harry Ransom Center. With a Ph.D. in English from Yale University, he is a specialist in bibliography, the history of the book, and the literature and culture of early modern England. His academic work has appeared in a number of journals and edited collections, and he is currently working on a book to be titled Quarto Playbooks and the Making of Shakespeare.
[0:00:05 Speaker 1] This is a subject, a topic that everyone has been looking forward to. It you can see by the attendance this afternoon, and it’s so significant that we have asked the director of the Harry Ransom Center, Steve Venice, to say a few words of introduction to Aaron. [0:00:25 Speaker 2] Happy to, um, Aaron Pratt is the Carl and Lily four timer curator of early books and manuscripts here at the Ransom Center. He did his graduate work at Yale University and had a teaching appointment at Trinity University before coming to us about three years ago. In his role here is four Timer curator. He obviously has responsibility for the four timer collection of early English literature. But beyond that responsibility as well, for our early book and manuscript holdings, pre 1700 generally, um, he’s Ah, in the time that he’s been here, As some of you know firsthand, he’s really transformed our teaching initiatives focused on our early books and manuscripts. He’s also a brought renewed research interest in scholarly activity to these collections, which I’m personally very gratified by. He has put these collections, which are vast here at the centre, a centre of a number of scholarly conversations. And most recently, if you’d like to see some of his his current work, you can take a look at the exhibition in stories to tell downstairs in our gallery space, where he has a display of books illustrating early English drama, which I gather will relate in some way, maybe to to today’s today’s Talk. So Aaron Pratt [0:02:03 Speaker 3] okay, is it like everything? We’re good. All right, cool. Well, first thanks. Thanks, Steve. Thanks, Roger. And thanks all of you for coming to hear me yammer for a little while on a Friday afternoon when we’re ready for the week to be over, I suspect so. [0:02:16 Speaker 4] As you heard my official title here is Karl in really forced timer, curator of early books and manuscripts. And aside from as you’ll see having such an obviously winning personality, I suspect that one of the main reasons that I seemed a reasonable candidate for this position is that my research has for a longish time now been at the intersection of book history. It’s more technical sibling bibliography in literary history, really the strengths of the materials [0:02:40 Speaker 3] in the four timer collection and really the collections more broadly here at the Ransom Center. [0:02:44 Speaker 4] Unlike many literature scholars, I tend to be a little less interested in offering new readings of specific literary texts than in the broader task of understanding literature. Social role Who read imaginative literature What gold that it served for those people who read it, Um, what exactly is Capital L Literature in the first place? Like all of the categories that we used to navigate the world, literature is a construct, something we humans have come up with. It has its own history or histories plural, and it’s up to people like me and many in this room to tell those stories. In recent decades, one increasingly common way to get at the history of literature has been to study the book trade in the actual books that survived from earlier periods the physical objects and not just to the text that they transmit to us for evidence of just how and when they were created, red and preserved. This is my approach, but I want to suggest here that in the case of early modern English drama and early modern English literature, more generally book history or should I say uncared ful? Book history is in part to blame for the stickiness of a narrative that sees 16th and early 17th century drama as essentially a kind of sub literary entertainment. When it first found its ways into the hands of English readers. Onley rising in status as literature, as particular authors of plays themselves Rose that is, even in the work of somebody like Lucas Earn, who is perhaps most influential. E revised a once prevailing sense that printed playbooks were essentially ephemera associated with the world of this stage. There are assumptions about early playbooks that remain unchecked and, as a result, keep even revisionist literary histories from fully integrating English language plays into the category of English literature as it was being negotiated in the 16th and 17th centuries. Okay, so I’m speaking to a really mixed audience here. Some people in the room who have probably never thought about early editions of English plays at all on Ben. People like Doug Brewster and others in the room who have done quite a bit of time in the weeds thinking about these questions. And so I’m gonna try my best to pitch down the center of the plate so everybody can engage in my way of doing this is to structure this presentation around a series of four maxims. I’m afraid I’m not going to completely answer the question that I’ve got up on the slide here. Rogers, a big fan of general titles that allow people to think that people to attach too esoteric topics. But who could really answer this question? Readers were, of course, individual people that had different goals and approaches. Things were very inducing products sometimes, but I hope to at least begin to suggest that play books in early modern England occupied a very different place in the world of literature. Then than play scripts in playbooks tend to [0:05:29 Speaker 3] do today. Okay, see if I can get this to work. [0:05:33 Speaker 4] Part one. Old books are not easier to read than old texts. If you go to one of the special collections libraries that are lucky enough to hold an early edition of a playbook by Shakespeare by early, let’s say around before 16 60 or so, you’re probably going to encounter a book that looks something like this. This is the binding of a 16 15 edition of Shakespeare’s Richard, the second it’s here at the Ransom center. If you saw my stories to tell Exhibition collated in Perfect or read the accompanying exhibition s a volume. You know that I have a lot to say about these kind of volumes for our purposes today. What’s important about the playbook here is that the playbook in 16 15 minutes originally published, would have looked about as far from this book as is conceivable. As it stands today, this little volume reflects the conventions of the late 19th and early 20th century media landscape and its concerns about signaling prestige and status with these fancy bindings. Here, on the other hand, is 1/17 century playbook that it’s made its way to us in almost exactly the same form in which it was first sold to an English book buyer. This Little Guy, the sixth standalone addition of Shakespeare’s popular play, Richard, the second, published in 16 34. So it’s a slightly later edition in the first book is here at the Ransom Center, and to the best of my knowledge, it is the only Shakespeare corrido that survives in the form in which it and other standalone playbooks usually circulated. This is the only one that has made it this way. There’s a slightly complicated case of the folder, but we’ll skip it. It’s a stab stitched book where the sheets of paper have just been folded, stuck together and stabbed through with a needle or an awl and then stitched up stabs ditched. I don’t like the term, but these are often described as pamphlets, and you sort of see why I don’t like the term pamphlet. So when compared to that earlier edition of Richard, the second in its deluxe modern collectors binding quarto playbooks, this kind of playbook, this kind of playbook out natural indeed tend to come off is pretty crummy or to be nicer about it, because I happen to really like the way something like this looks, they at least come office humble. Here’s a first folio in a contemporary binding, so this is the collected work. The Collected Plays of Shakespeare is published in 16 23 that brought 36 of his place together for the first time we did. This is not our copy. This is the bodily in time hasn’t been particularly kind to this binding, but if you had the book in front of you, you could see that has always been quite plain, with only a border of two lines or fillets pressed into the leather just in from the covers edge as sold, Most copies of the first Folio would have looked basically like this, fairly unadorned but reasonably sturdy. Now here, that same guy next to our Richard, the second pretty close to scale. I didn’t have the books in front of me, so I had to do some math on a napkin. If we take the first Folio is our control as the material standard against which we evaluate the quarters, these little guys, then we may likely indeed be inclined to assume that there’s something about the single issue playbook There. They made it unworthy of a 30 a sturdier structure book Historians have tended to judge quarter play books by their covers or really, their lack of covers. So my mom has a large collection of Harlequin romance novels, and and few if any of those books will ever be issued in a hardback edition right there. Native Paperbacks on DOF course All of you who are very literate types have having experience with kind of books that getting written up by the New York Review of Books or the L. A review of Books or The New Yorker. We all know that any novel that gets designated is properly literary. First comes out as a cloth hardcover with the dust jacket right. That’s the first step, and then you can go paperback. But you have to have. There’s a sense that the hardback is the way that you vet the modern kind of literary word. Hardcovers aren’t guaranteed to be literary, of course, but again, anything in the mainstream literary market has been sure to have issued in that format. So a work of literature may ultimately sell well enough to be transformed into a mass market paperback, but will have accrued its initial authority through the hardcover issue. Whatever their merits, it is clear from the physical format of Harlequin novels in any kind of like horror, fantasy, SciFi genre literature, that they hold a lesser status within our modern literary field and that these issue and mass market paperback initially is a bit of a signal to the place that these [0:09:55 Speaker 3] books occupy in our modern literary landscape. [0:09:58 Speaker 4] The question with early modern drama is whether the situation is a parallel 11 where we can assume the low status of the court of playbook on the basis of a larger folios, or at least on the basis of books that always circulated in bound copies. Books like The First Folio or Something like Edmund Spenser is The Fairy Queen, which was publishes a thicker quarter than this and always bound. The field of book history that I consider myself a part of has gained its critical momentum on the strength of its central insight that material form effects demeaning. But the case of early modern playbook should remind us that not all bibliographies KAL features mean in the same way, and that their meaning is almost always relative contingent upon book trade norms and consumer expectations. For decades now, the stab stitched quarter form of individual issued playbooks has been used to support a literary history that was developed within the critical tradition that I’ve been describing a critical tradition that formed with its focus on the first Folio. And it is a critical tradition that was to a significant extent, developed within a modern print regime when where the hierarchy of bibliographies performance was very much like the one we have today, the one where hardbound books or the literary standard. When book history was on the rise in the 19 eighties as a way to think about the roles physical books played in literature in history and culture, it became especially common to point to the stab stitch quarter form in which early playbooks were sold as a clear sign that readers in early modern England didn’t take them very seriously. But if the Stab Stitch form, in fact looked shabby to Shakespeare’s contemporaries, and if English drama was indeed marked off his sub literary because it was circulating in this form, we would expect to see drama getting stitched up in this form rather more than other types of books in the same length and format. That is to say, if the drama is the drama, we need to be specifically linked to this format in order for it to signify in the way that we’ve claimed it does. So this is the sort of thing Ideo I can tell you with full confidence that having looked at over 2500 individual books from this period ranging from all early modern genres. I can say with confidence that stab stitching this format correlates with nothing other than thickness the number of leaves in the book. And this tells us that the rationale for the practice was purely economic and material if you could get the book together for cheap than that’s Not bad. And so people chose that virtually all short books were sold in the same way. Stab stitched, making the material form of a playbook fundamentally the same as the material form of unambiguously high literature like Edmund Spenser is the Shepherds Calendar or Philip Sidney’s sonnet sequence Astra Feelin Stella or a heavily illustrated book on swimming or a philosophical treatise in Latin with illustrations diagramming the anatomy of the eye. All of these things circulated in stab such formats. The most immediate conclusion this evidence demand, then, is what has for decades been a critical commonplace. Stab stitching equals cultural riffraff, was based on modern critics being essentially media illiterate, insufficiently attuned to the conventions at play in early modern England. Media ecosystem. In this lack of awareness, [0:13:00 Speaker 8] I want to say [0:13:01 Speaker 4] may actually have something to do with the fact that critics of early modern literary history have really, from about the advent of the modern English department, roughly divided into people who studied drama and people who studied the other stuff poetry and prose fiction. So in a very real way, the Shakespearean exceptionalism that’s responsible for dramas, institutional compartmentalization in English and other modern language departments is also, at least in response, at least in part responsible for the idea that most early modern readers didn’t take this place seriously at literature. Because she experience have tended not to look outside the field of early English drama when assessing playbooks, they have often relied on the folio as their interpretive lens stab. Such quarter books, though, were the norm. It is them that we should be using to think about the folios, not the other way around. And I think this is an important point in the context of a book that I’m trying to get finished, which is why I’m talking you, Dex. I need to get this thing done. My revision is treatment of stab stitching serves as something of a reset button. If the pamphlet nous of playbooks has served in a kind of circular way to anchor the claim that playbooks were sub literary in histories of early modern England’s literature. Now we have an opportunity, I would say, an imperative to reconsider the whole story that we told about the earliest play quarters. Once we lose the pillar of the material form, anchoring the claim about its drama sort of secondary status in the market for literature Once that’s gone, we have an opportunity to rethink it from the beginning. Okay, Number two Price on its own does not tell us anything about readership. That is to say, how much a book cost cannot on its own, tell us anything about who read a given book or type of book, or even who an author or a publisher intended to read a given book or type of book. I’m thinking about this right now because when it comes to the question of early readers interest or lack of interest in the authors of playbooks assign, I’ve long had a sense that a lingering tendency to treat standalone playbooks as cheap has, along with the stab such form that I was just talking about been part of why we’ve had a hard time seeing quarter playbooks is books that can meaningfully participate in either the canonization of drama as a literary form or the transformation of writers of drama into capital a authors. That is part of why it’s been easy for even the very best book historians to categorize play quarters as theatrical additions rather than something that might participate in a former literary marketplace. Friend and U Penn professor Zach Lester wrote a chapter on playbooks that I really quite like in a book called The Oxford History of Popular Print Cultures. Volume on cheap print in Britain in Ireland to 16 60 Very academic title. But what justification? But what justification to the editor of this book on cheap print have for including a chapter on playbooks at all? That is why is it the playbook is deemed cheap print as opposed to something else? If you go way back way back, that’s I feel old now if we go back to Tessa. Tessa Watts landmark book from the early nineties cheap print in popular piety playbooks at their average length of about 38 leads in their average price of about six pence certainly didn’t fall within her limits. When she’s talking about truly cheap books accessible to a quote unquote popular audience. She mostly has in mind books only about 1/3 of the length of an average playbook that about 1/3 of the price As economic now, as any economic historians in the room will know, it’s very difficult to compare prices in the past to those in the present. But we have pretty good figures for UK prices and over time. And so the greatest Web site of all time measuring worth dot com, at which I spent a lot of my time, has a pretty good calculator. And so, in 2018 the day of his most recent figures, the six pence that that like Stab Stitch quarter would have cost when it first sold in 16 34 that would have that book would have had a labour value of just over £78 in an income value of about £144. We can split the difference and get about £100 in the labour value figure. That’s the figure that tells us how much money of the average wage in 2018 it would take to buy a playbook. So it’s calculating inflation on the basis of wage inflation, and then the income is the same thing. But it’s saying of the average income in like 16 34 how much was six pence of that? And then it’s doing that math and say, Well, how much of the average income in 2018 does that? Does that match up with and so playbooks? It turns out even these sort of shabby looking guys that are in there stab such format. It turns out that these air luxury commodities I mean, I should say that even the two pence cheap E books I’m even those air pretty, pretty expensive. But playbooks at three times the length of a book that Tessa what would call a cheap book were really a significant expense reading material for somebody with a truly disposable income in the leisure time that usually came with that disposable income. So here’s like a book from my personal collection Crystal Glass. For Christian women, this is a cheap book. This is a three sheet book half the length of an average playbook. Sure than six pence for a quarto may not have been the £1 for a simply bound first folio like the one I showed you in. For those who are not experts in pre decimal shilling and predictable throwing math, £1 is about is 40 times sixpence. So the first belly is about 40 times the price of an individual playbook. But given the high floor for buying 1/4 which I just described with in the appreciation numbers, the person who could buy a new play quarto was probably in the majority of cases, the same person you could buy the Folio. That is to say, the floor is high enough that the person who’s able to spend any money at that level could by both of them. And we see a good evidence, good evidence of this and surviving account books and inventories of early libraries. Into the best of my knowledge, we have zero evidence of low income ownership of early playbooks. Now, of course, it’s true that we know less about commodity consumption in general by those from lower income brackets. But while absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, the lack of evidence combined with the basics of price that I’ve just described, suggest that cheap quarters were actually the stuff of elite culture in those for maybe a little further down the ladder who aspired to participate in that of the culture. So we do see aspirational buying in early modern Europe like we do now. People would buy above their station, but at the price of basically the equivalent of 100 bucks of your salary to buy one of these early playbooks, that’s quite something. And so I think then playbooks were cheaper, but they’re not cheap. And when you think about historical price, we, of course, have to think comparatively what it x cost religion toe Why? But I’m suggesting here they have to be thoughtful about the controls that we use again. Cheaper is not cheap. OK, the way the ways we categorize books may not have been the ways that they did. Able Jeff. He’s brought out the first edition of the play, Edward, the first in 15 93 copies. Seen better days. The title page names neither author nor playing company, and there’s no preparatory material in the playbook that follows it. Indeed, this particular edition lacks all of the things what we call pere text, all of the stuff that surrounds the text that scholars have routinely looked to and efforts to identify particular. Playbooks has more literary than other ones, but in their absence, Able Jeffy is the publisher instead advertises the book by its narrative contents. In the title page says the stories about Edward Long shakes returning from the Holy Land, the wife of a rebel in Wales and the sinking of Queen Eleanor’s. So it’s got plot stuff. But this isn’t the whole story. The playbook, it turns out. Dozen factor name its author, George Peele, and it also tells readers, appeals Oxford credentials. That doesn’t work too well at the very bottom. It doesn’t met. Name off. Jeff names Peel here, but the way that it names the author here doesn’t typically enter into discussions of printed drama. The officer attribution here comes in the form of a bit of text at the very end of the play. And at the end of the playbook is the whole not on the title page. On with the character Gloucester’s Exit in Mortimer left on stage holding the head of Joan Peel Signs Off Yours by George Peele, Master of Arts and Oxford. The texture is set off to the right below Gloucester’s exit in a position that mimics the subscription of a manuscript. Letters. Here’s 1/16 century manuscript letter by your friend in North Hampton. It is only after appeals signature that the playbook ends with fitness, the language used for the end when issued by William White in 15 99. Again the second edition, this playbook retains the explicit in the title page. Still doesn’t name Peel as its author. So Peel sign off this one that we saw back here. Peel Sign off works to frame the Dia logic road of the play You know, one popular by individual individuated characters with distinctive personalities as a continuous message from a single author. It emphasizes that one Agent Peel, is responsible for each and all the characters, and in doing so, it transforms them into the words of a single communicative act. Components of a document. Mint for a reader, right? Yours, yours, Elizabeth. That’s something that comes with letter. That’s not something that comes in the performance, right? You don’t say yours, Aaron Pratt. I’m done with this talk. So So because of that, or to put it may be differently. Um, by mimicking the form of a manuscript letter. The end of this printed playbook closes by drawing attention to the body or the hand of a writer, not the bodies of actors. According to the playbook, Peel had offered his players an intimate missive, one that Jeff Ease has made available to an interested print audience as its publisher. So because of the explicit because of the explicit the to 16th century editions of Edward the first in Not With a Tragic Day, an in Law of a play, they instead in with an assertion of authorship, one buttressed by another kind of authority peeled, advanced degree from Oxford. And although Peels play Coombe Letter proclaims no address, see the Yours at the end might be understood is gesturing, even if obliquely and a bit disingenuously toward a pedigree of coterie circulation, a kind of network of letters. So here we see a play text that’s performing a kind of exclusivity. Edward the 1st may be the only play, but from the period that fully mimics the sign off of a letter and its explicit, but it’s only one among many that works similarly to collapse. The dialogue that drives the Playtex into a single voice. The voice of an originating author. Playbooks containing the drama of John Bale, my favorite historical personality, were the first to record authorship in an explicit. Each of his published plays concludes with a declaration that it was compiled by Johann. Bail, beginning in the 15 fifties, receive the idea of an authority voice liberalized in a formula that publishers used with a handful of authors. Abraham Veals edition of Lusty do Venice, Great Play, published in around 15 51. End the Playbook with Venice and then after that, on the same line it says Quote our River. The two editions of that play of the play that date from the mid 15 sixties, about 10 years later retained the explicit Here’s one of them [0:23:44 Speaker 0] in [0:23:44 Speaker 4] the ransom looks. Here’s one of them in the Ransom Centers collection, you can see the explicit there so it says Fenice quote. Are Weaver right above the telephone at the end There, so two Or rather in 15 67. John Pickering’s The Interlude Advice, also known as arrestees, then compresses the formula. And so it says his fitness. Q. I p quote John Pickering and so to, um, just to give another example that we have here. I’m so, too, does Opie and four, well, good name O. P in Full Wells playbook from 15 68 like Will Toe like it also abbreviate. It’s quote, too. Q or kind of cute de it, says Opie and full well there. And this copies of the folder in a number of other tutor playbooks mid 16th century playbooks do the same thing as the verb form quote would suggest explicit that attribute. Authorship in this way appear to be a carry over from a middle English tradition in medieval tradition like quoth, which may remain familiar to modern readers only because of the rave in adrenaline. Post poem Quote is the past tense form of Quay Vin, the verb used to signal directed discourse. So it’s like spoken Opie and full well in playbooks, where the clothed formula and it’s variants occur. The explicit Ask us to understand the play text is one long speech. The effect, in each instance is to identify the entirety of the play as one utterance by one person, the lines of each character. Maybe there’s in the narrative world of the play creates. Each character says their own lines, but they belong, ultimately, to the author and books like this ah, voice from outside of the world, the fictional world of the play that is responsible for speaking all the voices in it. So when publishers made the decision to emphasize authorship in the way that I’ve been describing, they tapped into their own interest in authority control and projected it onto the demographic they hope to project. Which is to say, when they were doing this, they were responding to other people carrying about authors. This these stationers used the ends of their playbooks to remind readers that despite the DIA logic, nature of drama, the Playtex they reproduced were like most other documents. They were both initiated and completed by an author. This was equally true of interludes, entertainments and, indeed, the plays [0:25:53 Speaker 3] that began emerging from London’s commercial theater industry in the later decades of the 16th century. [0:25:58 Speaker 4] And yet it remains common for scholars to write as though playbooks on Lee came to invest in the category of dramatic authorship in the 17th century, or or perhaps at the very end of the 16th in the reason for this is that critics have tended to invest their energy and playbooks performed by London’s commercial troops. That kind, of course, that Shakespeare worked for and wrote for but central to the work that I have been doing is, is, is the contention that a properly historical understanding of drama must attend to The printed playbook is an order category that exerted a cultural force of its own, often independently of the commercial theaters of the globe and other places that many of us are familiar. Those are the places, of course, that ultimately came to provide the market with most of the Playtex that circulated. But playbooks existed prior to that industry for at least alongside its creation. As I wrote before, at one point, it’s important to remember. Quote that for his long time, including myself, for as long. For almost a long as printing presses have been in England, they have been printed playbooks. They have been a constant presence in the English book trade as it developed around print. So if we choose to lead with plays associate with commercial theater famous today because of Shakespeare’s involvement, we missed. We missed much of how readers conceptualize and understood drama in the period, but I’m suggesting here that this includes the issue of dramatic authorship. We dis aggregate playbooks with origins in London’s commercial theater from others, like the ones I’ve been showing you in a way that runs against both. How publishers and collectors seem to have understood plays in playbooks as a foreman market category that cut across play types and origins. Which is to say, there’s the playbook as a document that people read and plays come from a range of different sources, you know, once for the commercial theater ones for country house poems, entertainments. All of those were understood in the book trade as the market of the playbook that that can run across these performance pedigrees. So the first major study on authorship attribution Zen printed playbooks in early modern England is published in the mid nineties, and as the title of that study indicates, the focus there was on documenting the publication of players from the professional stage. The Shakespeare Company’s because of this. To put it simply, I think their analysis misses this earlier market for drama on which the new professional playbooks depended and observes a misleading pattern in which attributions of author on title pages of plays Aaron Playbooks in general make steady gains from a low point. These authors remain agnostic on the implications of the increasing rate of attribution they find in playbooks. As time goes on, more author names show up on playbooks they find, but it contributes rather straightforwardly to a familiar narrative that would have the rise of authority attribution signal the emergence of printed drama as a more dignified in literary form, the kind of thing [0:28:35 Speaker 3] that would ultimately become the thing we study in English departments or theatre departments. [0:28:38 Speaker 4] Since that study, in 1995 a follow up study by Alan Farmer and Zach Lesser has expanded beyond the domain of plays written for the commercial feeders and into the market for printed drama. More broadly, they qualify that earlier study by observing that Will author attribution is among professional playbooks rose over time. Those from other places remained relatively [0:28:59 Speaker 3] steady and saying, Here’s a crappy graph. It’s a great graph. What am I talking about? [0:29:03 Speaker 4] Great graph. But although the title of their study broadens the scope from 15 12 to 16 60 their interest in charting the relationships between author theater and company attributions on the on in playbooks, the ladder of two of which depend on a visible theater industry. That means that they limit most of their analysis to those years of the commercial feeders from 15 76 and moving forward. I’m none of their charts, and here’s the most important one. I think none of their charts documenting authorship includes at includes data from the years before the commercial theater and say, You see, here’s where the commercial playbooks there’s a kind of blip at the beginning, But then it’s very low, and it moves upward over time. The non commercial playbooks with the dark black line. They kind of keep [0:29:47 Speaker 3] on trucking pretty steadily, with a bit blips here and there. [0:29:51 Speaker 4] If we expand backward from 15 76 though, we see the regularity of authorship attribution in the playbook market before commercial plays became a part of it, and I apologize for lack of a graph here. But in the decades from 15 32 15 60 the percentage of playbooks that specified information about their authors hover between 50 and 100%. The reason I don’t do a graph is that they’re not that many play books being published in these earlier years, and so the difference in playbooks per year would generate a very aggressive kind of e k g. Looking a very unhealthy e k g looking graph for us. But really, what we see is that basically an average of attribution before the commercial playbook comes out around 64%. And then we see a drop in these new playbooks that are coming out from London’s theaters. So what we see, actually, is that what scholars focus on professional playbooks, the ones associated with Shakespeare’s industry. But they see as this kind of steady rise of authorship from a beginning where authors authorship not interesting. What instead we get is, ah, dip from a relatively high point early, Iran’s or 60 60% 60%. And then it drops down. When players start being published from the Shakespeare Company’s, then it kind of rises moving forward. So one of the things I would say here is that the overall percentage of non commercial playbooks published before 16 24 with author attributions of some kind on title pages or within is around 70%. And so, although named authors do not appear to have been a necessary condition of reader’s interest in printed plays during the 16th century, really, indeed, most of the 17th century this information, when we look further back suggest that readers had always wanted to know about authors of place if they could find information about them. And even when it came to playbook from the new theater industry, it’s only if we assume that Plays written for the commercial stage generated a completely new type of play book, one designed for an essentially new book market that we can see. Attribution is a new phenomenon [0:31:47 Speaker 3] that takes off at the end of the 15 nineties and in the early 17th century, when Shakespeare’s active [0:31:52 Speaker 4] If we table the assumption that low attribution rates here in the dotted line the road attribution race, in addition of early so called commercial plays, was a function of low interest in dramatic authorship and instead see these additions within a larger market For drama that saw authorship is a desirable feature, they’re by no means a necessary one. What then, and account for the relatively low rate of attribution is among commercial playbooks in the last decades of the 16th century. If we’re to understand that stationers publishers had long seen authorship is something worth emphasizing on playbooks? Why didn’t they do some [0:32:26 Speaker 3] more often In the years when Shakespeare’s industry is really kind of in its biggest growth spurt, you might say last, but not least here. [0:32:35 Speaker 4] Author attributions like entitled plays or books could be and sometimes were limited by supply rather than by demand. So I’m trying to explain from that last graf why we have [0:32:45 Speaker 3] a dip in attribution in the in that period in the 15 eighties and nineties, [0:32:50 Speaker 4] One clear sign that an author was involved in the publication of a play is the presence of a dedication or other type of preparatory epistle. These aren’t the kind of documents that attached to performance right there, essentially bookish occasion only by publication for readers. We Seymour of these authority para tax dedications preparatory epistles in playbooks as the 17th century marches on, with Thomas Walkley famously apologizing for the absence of one in his 16 22 1st edition of a fellow to set forth a book without an epistle were like the old English proverb a blue coat without a badge that is not having an epistle from an author is like a servant in his uniform, not wearing a badge, identifying his master. Nice class politics for you. Um, Walkley here is overstating the presence of Dedicate Torrey material in playbooks. But author contributed material had indeed come become more common by 16 22. And if we have a pair, attacks one of these things, that’s clearly authority all. I think it’s fair to say that the author, if the authors still alive, was involved in some way of providing. And this is by the publisher, not the author. But if there’s a pair attacks, that’s clearly authority. I think it’s fair to say that the author provided the manuscript of the plate of the publisher as well, and we can navigate this through some examples. In the preface to Paris, a task her [0:34:06 Speaker 3] one of my favorite plays, [0:34:07 Speaker 4] published in 16 06 John Marston indicates this Clearly I have been my own center out. Yep. Um, in The Golden Age, published in 16 11 Thomas Heywood writes this play coming accidentally to the press. I was love finding it, my own to see it thrust naked into the world to abide the fury of All Weathers without either title for acknowledgement or the formality of an epistle for ornament through here in 16 11. Heywood, in one of these dedicate these preparatory materials, tells us that a manuscript of the play made it to its publisher, William Barrenger, independently of him. Somehow he would then caught light of this in the existence of the preface tells us that he proceeded to contact barren Jer and arrange for its inclusion. Hey, would like so many Londoners, must have had connections within the book trade, and this episode demonstrates as much, even if even if Heywood’s fictionalizing it a bit. A few years earlier, Heywood, the same playwright, had also provided a preface to the publisher of his previous playbook or a previous playbook, The Rape of Lucrecia. And in that preface, he reveals quote that he committed the play to the press himself, whereas earlier of his plays, he said, had accidentally come into the printer’s hands and were corrupt and mangled the rape of Lucretia. This playbook, he says, was one that he was willing, eager to furnish out in Willinger used that word. It’s great. For Haywood, the presence of a preface became an indication both of his authorization to publish and the fact that the main strip itself is authoritative, provided by him the author. The special explanation is a pistol from the Golden Age registers a breach of what had become protocol for him so, unless otherwise specified, the presence of an authority Opare attacks with these dedicate Torrey letters to the reader was intended by Haywood to serve as a guarantor for the bone. A few days of the printed play text itself. Another of Heywood’s playbook suggests that the even more basic feature of author attribution could be contingent upon an author, ships and authors involvement in publication. And this, I want to suggest, is critical for how we understand that attribution Dip that I just described with The English Traveller, published in 16 33. Our friend Heywood, he’s a very he likes to talk about his place and preparatory material. Heywood again found himself chasing a play that came to the press accidentally having intelligence thereof, he writes. I thought it not fit that it should. Fast as Philly is popularly a bastard without a father to [0:36:36 Speaker 3] acknowledge, and you can see in this kind of language of parentage and patrimony gross patriarchal stuff. [0:36:41 Speaker 4] How do you not approach the publisher, Robert Ray, with Ray Worth? He tells us the play would have been issued anonymously. It would have been an orphan without a parent. In fact, this also appears to have been the case with Golden Age, although the phrasing is a little more obscure in that playbook. When Haywood writes that it would not have had a title for acknowledgement, the implication appears to be that the title page would not have stated his authorship, would not have acknowledged his authority role. How do you not connected with the publisher? Taken together, these two examples print to a broader fact about the manuscript culture. That print market depended on manuscript owned by playing companies, the ones run by Shakespeare and others. The main ship owned by plane companies need not have circulated with an author’s name on them. Indeed, there’s no reason they should have right and apparently didn’t seeing as how the playbooks by these two publishers came very close to being issue without author attributions. Before Hayward tells us that he began supplying manuscripts. The stationers in 16 08 The playbooks that we now attribute to him came from other sources, he says. These playbooks, with one possible exception, did not name Haywood is their author. By my count, 13 manuscripts that were used in new Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre companies that were actually marked up for it. So put manuscripts that were we know to have been used by theatre companies. 13 of those survive from the Elizabethan Jacobean eras, and only one of them, the earliest, has its author’s name on it, and it’s in rough shape, and this is a facsimile of a facsimile of this play manuscript. It’s a very end of Jonah Kent and John Encumber Great play, which dates from sometime before December 15 90. Anthony Monday upended his John Hancock, and it’s rough looking here, but that’s Anthony Monday’s signature at the bottom there, Um, on the other 13 authors, names are nowhere to be found even on manuscript by our friend Heywood’s The captives that we believe to be an autograph management that is one written by him. And why wouldn’t they? These remaining ships meant for a company’s bookkeeper, the guy who needed to put on plays not for readers interested in authority, reputation and other kinds of cultural capital that attached to those kinds of things. These, of course, are the kind of manuscripts that stationers were usually receiving from the non authority agents who enabled the publication of most professional plays. So big surprise. I want to say that we see low rates of [0:38:56 Speaker 3] attribution in the 15 eighties and 15 nineties. [0:38:59 Speaker 4] The evidence of attribution, when it comes to noncommercial plays suggests both that stationers want publishers wanted names when they could get them, and that they were willing to publish books anonymously when names weren’t available for a while until authors themselves became or involved in the process. And before particular authors gained reputations that attach their names to printed playbooks even when manage gets lacked them. Attribution, Rates took a dive, And so what had been seen as a bottom of low attribution? That sort of rises People started to care about drama. It’s a blip related to this particular fact about manuscript transmission in the early modern theatre industry, what we’ve attributed to a lack of demand, then lack of interest in dramas, authors appears to have been a problem with supply, and as a result, we’ve been unable it may be unwilling to see quarter playbooks for what they were. Books that were about is interested in conveying authority by naming authors is most other kinds of books of English literature, which, of course, have a long history of anonymity. As we recognize and dump our assumption about what books should look like, what makes a book cheap? What types of plays air important to study in why playbooks may have been published anonymously, we find ourselves in a bit of a new place, one where our existing rise of narratives, the rise of English drama, the rise of authorship, the elevation of drama is a literary form. They kind of fall away because we’ve lost many of these pillars. As we start to recheck our assumptions about what, exactly how it is that we read the physical form of the playbook We’re not left were left not with a bunch of theatrical editions of plays tethered strictly to the world of the London Theatre and useful on Leah’s may be momentary entertainment, but instead as a corpus of reader oriented books that contributed meaningfully to lead your lives of England’s elite and in doing so participated in the country’s literary field as it was forming alongside a [0:40:43 Speaker 3] broader market place for luxury commodities in the 16th and 17th centuries. Thank you