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HUMANITIES 151 G.B. Evans incorporates 744 emendations by Theobald, more than those of any other eighteenth-century editor except the pioneering Rowe. Seary himself quotes handsome tributes not only from Theobald's contemporaries but also from such successors as William Aldis Wright, John Churton Collins, T.R. Lounsbury, R.F. Jones, J. Dover Wilson, and Brian Vickers. It is hard to imagine a mere editor with a more secure claim on posterity. Seary's real achievement here is not the rehabilitation of a lost reputation but the enhancement ofan established one. His demonstration, through full, meticulous, original scholarship, much of it archival, of the range and importance of Theobald's contributions, wins this illuminating book an honourable place among similar studies by R.F. Jones, Arthur Eastman, and Arthur Sherbo. The technical appendices alone - on eighteenth-century hands, Theobald's publishing and copyright agreements , Warburton's claims to Theobald's scholarship, and Theobald's Shakespearean collection - are scholarly contributions of a high order and value. (RICHARD KNOWLES) Jennifer Brady and W.H. Herendeen, editors. Ben Jonson's 1616 Folio University of Delaware Press. 221. This collection has an interesting concept behind it. Its dedication 'to the memory of Richard C. Newton, in gratitude for work that has enabled our own' refers to a 1982 essay entitled 'Jonson and the (Re-)Invention of the Book' in Classic and Cavalier: Essays on Jonson and the Sons of Ben, edited by Claude J. Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth. (Newton's 1977 study, '"Ben./Jonson": The Poet in the Poems,' in Two Renaissance Mythmakers: Christopher Marlowe and Ben Jonson, ed Alvin Kernan, is also used by the essayists, but to a much smaller degree.) In this essay, Newton identified Jonson as the first English author to realize print's power to establish a definitive, canonical version of his texts, which then, in tum, would come to represent the author's own public identity: 'he possesses his texts, and he is possessed by them.' Thus, the first Folio of Jonson's Workes can be seen as a uniquely important example of Renaissance self-fashioning, with its sequence of contents providing a summa of Jonson's career to 1616 (an idea of growth-as-unfolding-rather-thandevelopment put forward earlier by David Kay) and with the density of its classical references reinforcing its own claim to a comparably 'classical' status. Newton associated this development with the corporate nature of book production in the late sixteenth century, a connection that has been developed further by such scholars as Richard Loewenstein and Timothy Murry to suggest that Jonson's proprietorial attitude to the Folio is also a reflection of the increasing commercialism of the London book trade and thus, more widely, of the emergence in early modem England of 152 LETTERS IN CANADA 1991 individualist capitalism with its zero-sum competitiveness. Although I have reservations about some of the historical assumptions behind these arguments, they offer an interesting new angle from which to approach the 1616 Folio. Some essays exploit this more successfully than others, however, as is inevitable with such collections, and the approach itself can be seen to impose certain limitations and distortions. An anomaly that is bound to strike any student of Jonson's drama immediately is that, although well over half the 1616 Folio is devoted to plays, only one of the collection's eight essays (that by Blissett) is devoted to drama, while one other (by Maus) cqnsiders themes that overlap plays and nondramatic poetry. The degree to which performance texts were adapted in the Folio to the (relative) permanence of print is surely central to Newton's argument, but it is only touched on here by one of the essayists: Loewenstein suggests that typographical variety may have been used to achieve 'something analogous to the semiotic dazzle of masque performance,' but remarks that the Folio nonetheless omits descriptions of sets and stage-business, cast lists, and acknowledgments to musicians and designers that were included in earlier quarto printings of the entertainments. This kind of analysis, at greater length, is also needed for the Folio's nine plays. Current bibiliography, moreover, radically questions the reliance on print that Newton has posited for...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 151-154
Launched on MUSE
2017-05-25
Open Access
No
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