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Scientific article
Open access
English

Dedications, epistles to the reader, and prefatory custom in printed english playbooks, 1559–1642

Publication date2021
Abstract

This essay presents a bibliometric survey of dedications and addresses to the reader in plays printed between 1559 and 1642, and compares their rates of occurrence in plays from the professional theatres with those from nonprofessional contexts. Contrary to the critical commonplace that the establishment of early modern literary culture saw the decline of patronage and the rise of the figure of the reader, the rates of publication of dedications and addresses to readers suggest the opposite. The essay documents a striking absence of attention to readers in the preliminaries of playbooks and finds that the dedication was the more popular form of prefatory address for both professional and nonprofessional plays.

Keywords
  • Dedications
  • Epistles to readers
  • Paratexts
  • Ben Jonson
  • Thomas Heywood
  • John Marston
  • DEEP
  • Printed playbooks
  • Drama
Funding
  • Swiss National Science Foundation - To the Reader: The English Preface in Print, c. 1475-1623
Citation (ISO format)
SINGH, Devani Mandira. Dedications, epistles to the reader, and prefatory custom in printed english playbooks, 1559–1642. In: The Review of English Studies, 2021, p. 31. doi: 10.1093/res/hgaa069
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
accessLevelPublic
Identifiers
ISSN of the journal0034-6551
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97downloads

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