Examining the Early Modern marginalia wrought by two hands within Newberry Case Y12.T219, also known as the Duke of Roxburghe’s copy of All the Workes of John Taylor (1630), reveals how an old man and a young child respectively engaged with the same volume as both text and object shortly after its publication. Furthermore, the identities of the two writers are deduced based on the book’s subsequent ownership by the illustrious John Ker, third Duke of Roxburghe, and indicative marginalia, demonstrating how such a text can still function as speaking, historical object. To guarantee the authenticity and exclusivity of the Roxburghe copy’s marginalia, each image or page of text has been compared to a copy of the same edition owned by Loyola University Chicago, which is in significantly better repair and contains fewer marginalia. While some adult marginalia indicate political or moral perspectives by expressing approbation with marks, thus subjecting the folio to a selective and personal reading process, the child’s marginalia rewrite, imitate, mock, and even alter Taylor’s text. These instances provide physical evidence of how two readers of a work separately constructed their own physical paratexts in order to respond to or resist the author’s original literary meanings. Interpreting ownership labels and tracing the Roxburghe copy’s record of sale from its printing until its acquisition by the Newberry Library establishes a likely ownership genealogy for Newberry Case Y12.T219, illuminating developing perspectives on book-collecting over the centuries.


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pp. 11-29
Launched on MUSE
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