Documents of Shakespearean Performance: Stage, Page, and Manuscript in Early Modern England

07 January 2013, 17:30 - 19:00

Event Type:
Room 234 (Senate House)
Venue Details:

Senate House 
Malet Street 
London WC1E 7HU


Dr. Sarah Neville (West Virginia University): 'Reassessing the Reprint in the Early English Book Trade'

Literary scholars have long assumed that a survey of the surviving evidence of book production provides evidence of customer demand: the more frequently a book was reprinted, the more “popular” it was with early modern readers. But though the repeated publication of plays such as Mucedorus (9 editions in 25 years) or Doctor Faustus (8 editions) corresponds with what we know of their popularity with contemporary playgoers, the repeated publication of other plays such as Merchant of Venice (3 editions) might be evidence only of their publishers’ hopeful speculation in the marketplace. “Reassessing the Reprint” reconsiders evidence for playbooks’ popularity in light of the multiple contingencies that influenced booksellers’ conceptions of economic viability.