Paper Interruptions: False Starts in Ben Jonson’s Sejanus

from Georgina Wilson, Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge When does a text begin and end? Ben Jonson was an early modern playwright and poet, best known for his rowdy city comedies. Sejanus His Fall is one of Jonson’s more serious plays, printed in 1605. The play draws heavily on many classical writers to describe the fall of the real Roman soldier, Lucius Aelius Sejanus (20BC–31AD).It’s impossible to ignore Jonson’s extensive historical borrowing, because the margins of Sejanus are littered with citations of Latin and Greek texts. Sometimes these marginalia threaten to overwhelm the English play text entirely. They show Jonson as a … Continue reading Paper Interruptions: False Starts in Ben Jonson’s Sejanus

The ‘Bodleian’ First Folio

The Bodleian Libraries hold two copies of the first folio edition of Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies (1623). These have not always been in the Library, though; hear about the tangled history of the ‘Bodleian’ copy from Emma Smith, here. And see the fully-digitised copy, shelfmarked Arch. G c.7, here. And read here about the conservation effort to secure this volume. See the list of digitized First Folios maintained by Sarah Werner at her blog Wynken de Worde Continue reading The ‘Bodleian’ First Folio

A foldable chapbook

The product of the early modern printing press is not the page, or the book, but the sheet. A book might consist of several sheets of paper folded into quires or gatherings, or just one. What revolutions and reversals make the pages either end up facing each other or separated by several other pages? Here’s a little book in the format called duodecimo. This book of twelve leaves or 24 pages is printable on one (double-sided) sheet of A4 paper, so it makes a really tiny book. The imposition plan used here comes from Philip Gaskell, A New Introduction to … Continue reading A foldable chapbook