Scribal Publication in Seventeenth-century England
Long after the establishment of printing in England, many writers and composers still preferred to publish their work through handwritten copies. Texts so transmitted included some of the most distinguished poetry and music of the seventeenth century, along with a rich variety of political, scientific antiquarian, and philosophical writings. While censorship was one reason for this persistence of the older practice, scribal publication remained the norm for texts which were required only in small numbers, or whose authors wished to avoid 'the stigma of print'. The present study is the first to consider the trade in manuscripts as an important supplement to that in printed books, and to describe the agencies that met the need for rapid duplication of key texts. By integrating a large body of findings already available concerning particular texts and authors it provides an arresting new perspective on authorship and the communication of ideas.