Between the Sheets: The Use of Paper Evidence in Bibliographic Reconstruction of the Shakespeare First Folio
AuthorHansen, Lara Diane
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This dissertation is a bibliographic study of William Shakespeare's 1623 First Folio. It extends Charlton Hinman's nearly exhaustive research in <italic>The Printing and Proof-reading of the First Folio of Shakespeare</italic> (1963). The basis for this study is the watermark and stop-press correction data collected for Eric Rasmussen and Anthony James West's <italic>The Shakespeare First Folios: A Descriptive Catalogue</italic> (2012). The analysis of these data sets allows inferences relevant to the print conditions of William and Isaac Jaggard's print shop during the printing of the First Folio. While most bibliographic studies focus on a single copy of a book or compares several copies of an edition, this project contributes a cross sectional analysis of 219 of the 232 extant First Folios. The large number of watermarks found on each sheet suggests diversity in the number of crown paper stocks the Jaggards used. The size and shape of the watermarks suggest a grouping that indicates multiple watermarks were present within the same paper stock. In addition, the predominance of unmarked paper in distinct signatures in the First Folio but also found throughout the volume indicate the widespread use of unmarked paper. Data relevant to the stop-press corrections reveal that there were more uncorrected sheets printed than previously suspected. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that in all the examined First Folios, uncorrected sheets were found. Not one examined copy was perfect, not even the one known presentation copy. This study concludes that printing continued during the proofing process and that there were a greater proportion of uncorrected sheets to corrected sheets as a result contrary to prior scholarship.