Last year, I started reserving a day in each of my Shakespeare courses for students to "make" quartos. I wrote at some length (almost exactly a year ago) about the experience of making Q1 Hamlet with my students at VCU and posted instructions, information about supplies for the activity, and a link to the sheets (which I made from EEBO printouts).
This semester, I'm teaching a senior seminar called "Early Modern Drama: Manuscript, Print, Performance" that focuses on the material-textual processes that facilitated the making of theatrical performance and printed texts of the plays. So far, my students have reverse-engineered scribal backstage plots of Doctor Faustus, performed a scene from the same play using cue scripts, and "made" quartos. Read More
I have a new piece up at The Collation, the Folger Shakespeare Library's research blog, about a heavily used, read, and damaged sammelband of eight late seventeenth-century play quartos. If you're interested at all in bindings, collection practices, traces of early reading (play-reading specifically), female readers, and/or ciphers (yes, ciphers!), then this might be worth a read. I have more questions about the book than I do answers, so I'd be grateful for your reactions, ideas, or suggestions (either here or over on The Collation).
For the full text of the post, click here. Read More
[This post was inspired by recent correspondence with Keith Houston, author of the terrific blog Shady Characters ❧ The secret life of punctuation and the book of the same name. A few days ago, Houston posted about "the death of the paragraph" over at his site. What follows here expands on Houston's conclusions with some meditations on the disappearance of the pilcrow (¶) in early modern printing, specifically playbooks.]
I have just returned from Montréal, where I attended the annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing (or, SHARP). There, I presented a paper on damaged or incomplete or imperfect—comme vous voulez—copies of printed playbooks (all from the Folger Shakespeare Library's collection) whose missing pages have been supplied in manuscript. I don't wish to rehearse that whole argument of that paper here, but the way these manuscript supplements compel us to consider the wholeness of the book offers a good entry point for the topic of this post: the various ways in which units of play-reading came to be defined. Read More