The Scribal Publication of a Printed Book: Francis Bacon's Certaine Considerations Touching . . . the Church of England (1604)
- The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society
- Oxford University Press
- Volume 10, Number 2, June 2009
- pp. 119-156
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This article answers a number of questions about the first printed edition of Francis Bacon's Certaine Considerations Touching the Better Pacification and Edification of the Church of England (1604). We show that the press of its printer, Thomas Purfoot Jr, was stayed in the course of printing and that the partly-printed book was called in by order of the Bishop of London, Richard Bancroft. We further demonstrate, however, that a significant proportion of the printed sheets escaped this order, and that the half-printed book was made available to early readers in the form of copies completed in manuscript by professional scribes, a phenomenon we call 'the scribal publication of a printed book'. The article also provides an analysis of the political and ecclesiological circumstances in which the book was first written and subsequently printed; it also addresses the question of Bacon's own role in the printing and suppression of his book.