The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0300 Monday, 19 May 2008
From: William Sutton <
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
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.
[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:
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:
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
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
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
By way of background information, the Historical Note reads as follows:
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.
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.
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
The S H A K S P E R Web Site <http://www.shaksper.net>
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