Archive for April, 2014

RubanoI am pleased to announce that Julia Helena Rubano ’14 is the first awardee of the South Beach Writing Residency, offered by the family of Hyam Plutzik ’32.

Originally from Madison, CT, Julia entered New York University in the Fall of 2010 as an English major and made the Dean’s List during her three semesters there (Fall 2010-Fall 2011). She transferred to Trinity in the spring of 2012 as an English major with a focus on creative writing (poetry), with a minor in Film Studies. A member of the Varsity Track & Field team, Julia has studied writing and literary topics at Trinity with Ciaran Berry, Dario Del Puppo, Lucy Ferriss, Sheila Fisher, Christopher Hager, Daniel Mrozowski, David Rosen, Clare Rossini, Mary Beverly Wall, and James Prakash Younger. Julia’s advisor at Trinity is Ciaran Berry, Assistant Professor and Director of the Creative Writing Program, recipient of the 2012 Whiting Writer’s Award, and author of The Sphere of Birds (2008) and numerous pieces in journals and anthologies.  Her thesis advisor is Clare Rossini, poet and Artist-in-Residence, and author of Winter Morning with Crow (1997) and Lingo (2006), as well as numerous pieces in journals and anthologies.

Betsy south beach

The Family of Hyam Plutzik (Trinity ’32) is proud to offer an annual residency (for five years, beginning in Spring 2014) in South Beach in the Betsy Writers Room to a graduating senior with outstanding talent in the literary arts.  The award will be given in May, as part of the graduation program.  This residency comes with a $500 travel stipend, six days lodging, and a per-diem of $50. During the residency, the recipient will be invited to participate in an Arts Salon to share his/her work with the community; planning will be done in close partnership with the visiting artist.  The residency will be awarded annually by the Head Curator and Librarian at the Watkinson, in cooperation with College advisors, for a residency to be scheduled directly with the Betsy Writers Room.

Third folio0001

We have an excellent facsimile of the Third Folio, which appeared in 1663, and a second issue in 1664, augmented, as the title-page tells us, with seven plays:  Pericles; The London Prodigall; The History of Thomas Lord Cromwell; Sir John Oldcastle Lord Cobham; The Puritan Widow; A York-Shire Tragedy; The Tragedy of Locrine.  Only Pericles is considered to be Shakespeare’s (partially)

Because of their scarcity relative to the other folios, it is though that many were destroyed before distribution in the London fire of 1666.

According to one of the standard scholarly works on the subject, the Third Folio “does more credit to the printing house which turned it out and is largely free from gross typographical errors. But from the fact that it unintentionally omitted a great many words, we infer that the proof reading given it was not sufficiently careful to catch unobtrusive compositor’s errors. The editor, furthermore, was not nearly so aggressive as the editor of F2 [2nd Folio] and did not feel free to go further than to correct blunders that make nonsense of meaning, grammatical improprieties, an archaic diction.”

–Black & Shaaber, Shakespeare’s Seventeenth-Century Editors, 1632-1685 (1937), who identify 943 editorial changes made in the Third Folio.

Third folio0002

FFF1866Unfortunately we do NOT have the so-called “First Folio” (London, 1623) of Shakespeare–a critically important book in Shakespeare studies as the first collected edition of his plays, wherein were printed for the first time eighteen plays!  They were as follows:

The Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Measure for Measure, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, All’s Well that Ends Well, Twelfth Night, The Winter’s Tale, King John, Henry VI part I, Henry VIII, Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline.

We do, however, have an excellent facsimile of it, produced in 1866 by Howard Staunton, which was created using the newly invented technology of photo-lithography. These were initially issued in sixteen (16) monthly parts at 10s. 6d. per part, or a total of 8 guineas–the price was relatively high (about $1,500 in today’s money).

2nd folio t.p.

In 2012, through the generosity of the Watkinson Board of Trustees,  we were able to acquire a copy of the “2nd Folio” (1632) of Shakespeare. This copy had been in one family’s possession since the mid-19th-century.

This second edition, as it were, was issued with five different title-pages (representing the five different principal investors).  However, since ours lacked the title-page, we don’t know which issue we have. The 2nd Folio bears over 1,200 corrections (mostly in restoring meter and the spelling of Latin phrases and classical names), but is principally famous for the dedicatory poem to Shakespeare written in 1630 by John Milton—which was his very first publication of English verse (he was 24).


As noted, our copy of the fourth edition (technically) of Othello is only one of two 17th-century “player’s quarto” editions of Shakespeare in the Watkinson.Othello

“We should remember that no concept of ‘copyright,’ in its modern sense, existed in Shakespeare’s time. ‘Ownership’ of texts was confined to publishers, who established their right to produce a work by licensing it with their professional body, the Stationers’ Company; a publisher might additionally guarantee ownership of the text by paying a futher fee to have the title entered into the Stationers’ Register. An author who brought a new work to a publisher would be paid for the text—sometimes, in part at least, by being given copies of the printed book—but this payment secured outright ownership of the text . . . In the case of theatrical scripts, a further transactional layer intervened between the writer and the publisher. Plays for commercial production were, for the most part, commissioned by theatre companies from a pool of jobbing playwrights, many of them working collaboratively to produce scripts . . . Once purchased, the play became the property of the theatre company.”

–Murphy, Shakespeare in Print

In celebration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, I will be posting about our holdings every day in April.

The first play by Shakespeare to be printed, as far as we know, was Titus Andronicus in 1594, which survives in only one copy. It was discovered in Sweden in 1904, purchased by Henry Clay Folger, and now resides at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  Of the many editions of the plays which were published in quarto prior to 1700, the Watkinson owns only two—the first separate edition (1684) of Julius Caesar, and the fourth edition (1681) of Othello.

Shakespeare CaesarBoth of these were given by Allerton C. Hickmott (Hon. 1958), a very generous donor to the Watkinson who gave both books and funds for acquisitions. Among his many gifts were private press books and English imprints ranging from the 16th to the 19th centuries, especially (as here) Elizabethan and Jacobean titles.

In the case of Julius Caesar, five more editions were produced in the next 6 years, mostly due to the performances of actor Thomas Betterton and to a general interest in the tragedies.