British Library Treasures in full: Shakespeare in quarto
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Print Glossary


Member of a company of players with responsibility for the Promptbooks. The book-keeper also oversaw the casting of plays and distribution of individual parts to players.

Collation (1)

Description of the physical make-up of a book, using a standardised formula to record the number of Quires and the number of leaves in each quire.

Collation (2)

Comparison of the text of one copy of printed book with that of another copy, to discover and record differences between them.


Placing type into a Forme for printing using a hand printing press.


All the copies of a work printed at any time from substantially the same setting of type.


Book size when the printed sheets are folded once, giving a two-leaf quire and pages half the size of the sheet.


Type assembled into pages and locked into a frame ready for printing.

Foul papers

Dramatist's rough draft manuscript of a play, with his corrections, additions, and deletions.


Work written wholly in the author's own hand.


Name of the printer, publisher, bookseller, usually with the place and date of publication, printed on the title-page.


All the copies of an edition sold at any one time. Each issue will normally have its own title-page. Successive issues of the same edition may have other minor textual differences.

Memorial Reconstruction

Text of a play reconstructed from memory, usually by actors involved in performances. Also called a reported text.


Book size when the printed sheets are folded three times, giving an eight-leaf quire and pages one-eighth the size of the sheet.


Manuscript of a play containing the licence issued by the Master of the Revels allowing it to be performed. This copy was not used for prompting in the modern sense, and is often referred to as the playbook.


Book size when the printed sheets are folded twice, giving a four-leaf quire and pages one-quarter the size of the sheet.


Section of a book resulting from the folding of a sheet after printing. A Folio may have two leaves in a quire, a Quarto four leaves, and an Octavo eight leaves.


List of Signatures for the Quires in a printed book, with the number of leaves in each quire.


Sometime used as a synonym for Composing, but more usually to describe the resulting printed text.


Letter or number assigned to each Quire in a printed book, to aid the printing of the book and the assembly of its sheets in the correct order.


Copy of an Edition with minor variations resulting from changes made during printing. Sometimes called a state.


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