Abstract

The first three early modern versions of the Mirror for Magistrates—the versions that William Baldwin was involved in producing in the mid-1500s—attempt through typography and paratext to destabilize a relatively standard reading practice: the organization of multiple textual components into the hierarchical categories of primary and secondary text. Baldwin seems to have discouraged readers from envisaging the Mirror's pseudo-nonfictional frame tale as a series of dispensable links of lesser significance than the text embedded in the frame. But Baldwin's devices for drawing attention to his frame tale proved insufficient against an editorial tendency to impose a hierarchy on the work's two primary textual components. This editorial tendency inspired various transformations of the frame tale and paratext in early modern versions published after Baldwin's death (around 1563) from 1571 to 1610, and in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century editions (Haslewood 1815; and Campbell 1938). Typography, paratext, and bibliographical description in Joseph Haslewood's and Lily Campbell's editions reduce Baldwin's frame tale to the status of an ancillary and present the Mirror's embedded ghost complaints as primary. The observations in this essay regarding editorial transformations of the Mirror's frame and paratext reinforce current trends in editorial theory, specifically the call to reexamine and modify editorial approaches to early modern paratext and other forms of framing devices, and to reproduce, or at least take into account, material features of the early modern book when preparing an edition.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1933-7418
Print ISSN
1559-2936
Pages
pp. 43-77
Launched on MUSE
2008-11-11
Open Access
No
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