Vile or vile esteemed? Look hard for the ‘missing’ lines in Sonnet 126. More to come on these sonnets, with notes of their making, in a later blogpost.
In 2016, the 400 year after William Shakespeare’s death, the Bodleian Library asked printers around the world to print his sonnets afresh. These are the results.
The Bodleian’s Bibliographical Press continues experimenting with techniques from the hand-press period. This transformation print [see pictures of the original] held at Bodleian MS Wood E 25(10) is one of several from the 17th and 18th centuries containing the same general theme under the title, ‘The beginning, progress, and end of man’. The Bodleian’s copy has the imprint, ‘Printed for J. Deacon, at the Angel in Guilt-spur Street‘. The same images appear in an edition at Harvard with the imprint, ‘London: Printed by E. Alsop for T. Dunster, 1654‘; another version, ‘Printed by B. Alsop for T. Dunster, 1650‘, is in the Thomason collection at the British Library. Several other versions exist, and the Bodleian also holds a manuscript version from the 18th century.
At Broadside Day 2017, in the Weston Library, Jacqui Reid-Walsh will speak about ‘The beginning, progress, and end of man’ as an interactive text.
Meanwhile, Richard Lawrence at the Bodleian’s Bibliographical Press is experimenting with printing transformations using two blocks; here using reproductions in zinc based on the Bodleian’s copy. From this experiment it appears that the transformation could be achieved using two blocks, ‘Adam’ and the ‘mermaid’; one printed on the centre of the sheet, and the other printed over this on the outside, after the upper and lower edges were folded to meet in the middle. As further evidence for this hypothesis, the Bodleian’s copy shows blocks printed over the deckled edges of the paper. We still wonder why, in these 17th-century editions at least, the title (on the outer side) and imprint (on the inner side) are interrupted by large gaps at the latitude of the join.
Thanks to Kim Vousden for graphic design to prepare the images for reproduction as printing blocks.
Collections containing over 30,000 ballads in Bodleian collections are accessible online at http://ballads.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/
Register for Broadside Day 2017, to hear more about broadsides and street literature.
Peter Rukavina, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada, printed Sonnet 99 for the Bodleian’s appeal for Shakespeare’s sonnets printed by any means of relief printing in 2016, the 400th anniversary of the poet’s death. The images below, supplied by Peter Rukavina, indicate the process. The finished product can be seen in this animation, by Adam Koszary. https://youtu.be/2LHpc0kFzss
Sonnet 99, Peter Rukavina, Reinvented Press, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada. Letterpress printed on a Golding Jobber No. 8 Press.
This series is called, ‘Figures of delight,’ after the title given to Sonnet 98 by Ken Burnley, Silver Birch Press. NOTE – missing sonnets will be supplied in the correct place as soon as photos are made!
NOTE: Sonnet 38, printed by Armina Ghazarian, in Ghent, will be pictured in an update of this post.
The Bodleian Libraries welcomed two unique sets of sonnets into the Libraries’ collections at a special event on 10 November, 2016.
One was a set of sonnets written by Oxford schoolchildren as part of a series of workshops led by the Poet of Oxford Kate Clanchy. The other was a unique collection of Shakespearean sonnets that have been hand-printed by printers around the world as part of the Bodleian’s Sonnets 2016 project.