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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: May ::
Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0300  Monday, 19 May 2008

From:		William Sutton <
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Date:		Friday, 16 May 2008 23:25:51 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 19.0297 Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets
Comment:	Re: SHK 19.0297 Extant Copies of the Q1609 Sonnets

Thanks for the responses.

Like Bill, I err on the side of caution and time management. Changing an 
author's punctuation as you set type seems rather presumptuous and 
time-consuming.

Spelling, capitalization, italicisation I can see changing, but 
punctuation takes a little more thought, I would think, and according to 
MacD P Jackson, they had a busy month that May in 1609.

The two compositors certainly missed some punctuation. Several sonnets 
end without a full-stop or on a comma. Or maybe the author didn't supply 
any punctuation at all in his 'foul' papers?

There was no standard across Early Modern print shops regarding 
orthography, so we really cannot say what the practice was.

This side-issue is irrelevant to the central point that these sonnets 
were last collated by Hyder Rollins in 1944? Isn't it about time for a 
new revision of these documents? Let's say, scanned and brought online?

BTW how did Hyder do it? Travelling during WW2 across the ocean from the 
Bodleian to the Elizabethan Club?  Did he make copies of each text? 
That's a story in itself, like the authors of the Annotator.

Now if some philanthropist were to offer to pay the costs, I think 
several scholars might be up for the task, especially for the 400th 
anniversary of their publication.

A-musingly yours,
William S.
blog.iloveshakespeare.com

[LONG Editor's Note:

Regarding, "Isn't it about time for a new revision of these documents? 
Let's say, scanned and brought online?" There is, of course, my 
co-edited edition with Ian Lancashire: 
<http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/ret/shakespeare/1609inti.html>, 
which was used as the "Live Text" behind the British Museum (Greville 
11181) Octavo Edition (with a couple of corrections that we missed in 
our edition). The BL Greville 11181 is available through the Rare Book 
Room Site: http://www.rarebookroom.org/Control/shason/index.html. The 
Rare Book Room also has the Bodleian Library's Malone 34: 
http://www.rarebookroom.org/Control/shaluc2/index.html.  In addition, 
there is the upcoming edition for the Internet Shakespeare Editions: 
http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/Texts/Son/#versionQ1.

Regarding "BTW how did Hyder do it?": In his introduction to the 
Variorum edition, Hyder Rollins mentions that he used facsimiles of Q1609.


17th Century Print and Italic OT Pack: As a side note, this weekend I 
was doing some work that I thought would be improved if I were to use an 
Early Modern typeface. I had in the past used a free font that is 
variously known as the "First Folio Font" or the "Illinois Shakespeare 
Font." The link to the festival is dead, but Terry Gray explains that he 
recently located the font at dafont.com, a site for the distribution of 
freeware fonts:

http://mrshakespeare.typepad.com/mrshakespeare/2007/06/that_shakespear.html

http://www.dafont.com/the-illinois-shakespeare-festival.d694

However, at 2:00 am on Saturday night, when I could not find my old 
il_shake_fest font in my font folder, I started Googling and discovered 
online an amazing Early Modern typeface package -- 17C Print OT. I 
purchased this font pack from Crazy Diamond Design, a company that 
specializes "in typefaces representing historical forms of handwriting 
and printing, used throughout the British Isles in the past two 
millennia": http://www.crazydiamond.co.uk/

As someone who has identified every individual piece of type in Q1609 
for my co-edited edition of "Shake-speares Sonnets" (SGML VERSION) 
following the information provided by Peter Blayney in charts from his 
<I>The Texts of King Lear and Their Origins, Volume I: Nicholas Okes and 
the First Quarto</I>, I found the 17th Century Print OT Pack quite 
impressive: http://www.crazydiamond.co.uk/fonts/17c.html

By way of background information, the Historical Note reads as follows:

<PROSEQUOTE>
The advent of the printing press saw the early type designers, typified 
by Guttenberg and Caxton, striving to reproduce the contemporaneous 
written styles, which, in the early fifteenth century were based on 
various forms of text hand. The Humanists of the Italian Renaissance 
wanted a 'new' writing style and they found inspiration in the old tenth 
century Carolingian hand, through its clean and elegant form. In 
deference to its roots it was known as Littera Antiqua, and, coupled 
both with a cursive, forward slanted variant known as Italic, and Roman 
square capitals, it became the de facto style across Europe, by the 
beginning of the sixteenth century (although notably not in the Germanic 
countries where text hand remained the standard). Inevitably, the 
printers embraced this new writing style as the standard and most 
legible typeface. Such was its success, that there really is very little 
difference between this and the 'roman' typestyles of today.

The 17C Print OT fonts were taken from a book published in 1686; they 
were designed to incorporate not only the imperfections but also the art 
of seventeenth century printing, including many glyph variants based on 
optical size, ligature, alphabet and typestyle.
</PROSEQUOTE>

In addition to fonts of the basic typeface, this package contains a set 
of Small Caps, of Titling fonts, of historical characters (with 
ligatures -- AE ae OE oe fi fl ffi ffl ff fj -- including the long-s -- 
and long-s ligatures -- long-s plus t h k l f and long-s plus s and si), 
special typographic sets (with Drop Caps, superscripts, and subscripts), 
Greek characters, runes, footnotes, and a Caxton (text) Inline font set 
(that resembles the "black letter" or the "gothic" fonts Caxton used in 
all his printed books) - the package contains all of these as well as a 
complete set of italics versions of them all.

For fun, I took Sonnet 18 and used this typeface to produce a very 
credible facsimile of Sonnet 18 from Q1609.

My only reservation is that the pack costs 35 pounds; so at the current 
exchange rate, I unfortunately had to pay close to $70; nevertheless, I 
consider the expense worth having this stunning Early Modern font pack. 
--Hardy]


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