Sunday, January 04, 2015

Bibliographic Happiness

I'm working on a paper about a pamphlet for SAA, and reading about pamphlets in the period, as you do when working on a genre you aren't well into, if that makes sense.  As I was reading, I saw a reference to a transcript of the Stationers' Register, and my mind went "zing!" 

So I started off looking to see if there's a copy of the transcript in the state system, and since there wasn't, if there is at a library a friend can access, and along the way, I found that there's a copy available ON LINE!  And formally, it's A Transcript of the Registers of the Company of Stationers of London.  1554-1640.  (I've linked the third volume, because that's where I was playing, but there are other volumes, and volumes for the years after 1640, even.)

I have to say, it's fascinating, just fascinating.  I found the entry for the text I'm working with, and then an entry for a seemingly related text entered by a different stationer.  So then I went to EEBO and tried to find that, but couldn't.  It either isn't in EEBO (I need to check the STC on line, still), or copies didn't survive, or it never actually got into print.

And then I started looking at other entries by the stationer who entered my text, and that was interesting, and then I looked for the stationer on EEBO.  It looks like the stationer had a fairly short time period in which he entered texts, and didn't enter tons of them, either.  Tomorrow, I'll go visit the DNB and see what I can learn about him.  And the other stationer, too, to see what's what.  My initial impression is that he lasted a whole lot longer in the trade.

A few hours playing bibliography on my computer and I learned and thought about the text a bit more sophisticatedly.  And I'm happy about that.  (Of course, what I learn down this path will probably end as a footnote of one sentence.)

Once again, I'm so grateful to the bibliographers, in this case, one Edward Arber, FSA (Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, I think that means), who published this in 1876.  (If you scroll through the first several pages, you'll see that the copy that's been digitized is numbered and signed by Arber, number 227 of 230 copies, privately printed.

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