The Culture and Commerce of Texts
Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-Century England
Long after the establishment of printing in England, many writers and composers still preferred to publish their work through handwritten copies. Texts so transmitted included some of the most distinguished poetry and music of the seventeenth century, along with a rich variety of political, scientific, antiquarian, and philosophical writings. While censorship was one reason for this persistence of the older practice, scribal publication remained the norm for texts that were required only in small numbers, or whose authors wished to avoid the "stigma" of print.
This is the first book to consider the trade in manuscripts as an important supplement to that in printed books, and to describe the agencies that met the need for rapid duplication of key texts.
"A bold and timely book [that] gives a broad and illuminating account of the context from which much writing in this period grew."—Times Literary Supplement
"Few readers of this book . . . will come away from it without learning something, and most readers, like this reviewer, will learn a very great deal indeed."—Rare Books Newsletter
"[An] astonishingly rich book. . . . Scribal publication was the preferred form of publication for Donne, King, Carew, Marvell, Rochester, and Dorset. This learned book will encourage scholars to be more aware of the practice."—Modern Language Review
"This book has a wide-ranging audience, because it largely surpasses its geographical and temporal range. . . . The clarity of the study makes it a wonderful teaching text."—Abby Zanger, Harvard University