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Shakespeare for the "Triers": Richard Hawkins and Q2 Othello at the Serjeants' Inn

Shakespeare for the "Triers": Richard Hawkins and Q2 Othello at the Serjeants' Inn

Young, Jennifer (2021) Shakespeare for the "Triers": Richard Hawkins and Q2 Othello at the Serjeants' Inn. Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 21 (1). pp. 94-119. ISSN 1531-0485 (Print), 1553-3786 (Online) (doi:

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In 1630, the Stationer Richard Hawkins began selling an edition of Shakespeare’s Othello from “his shoppe in Chancery-Lane, neere Sergeants-Inne” (Othello 1630 title page). This edition, identified by modern scholars as Q2, is remarkable as the first edition to fully conflate existent quarto and folio texts of a Shakespeare play. Scholars have remarked on the process that brought Q2 into being—but the question of why a seventeenth century publisher/ bookseller would invest the time and money to create such an edition remains to be considered. This article decenters the author to reconsider Q2’s place among the people and ideas of the area in which it was published and sold: the Serjeants’ Inn in the heart of the Inns of court area of London. The article examines how Hawkins fashioned the books sold in his shop to entice this local readership. Literary and textual evidence from the Quarto is then reconsidered in the light of this new readership, providing fresh insights into the construction of this unique quarto and its place in modern editorial practice. This article also highlights the extent to which individual members of the book trade in the early seventeenth century engaged with local readerships and the value of second-plus editions to that market.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: "This is an unedited draft not for citation, and has been accepted for publication in Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies" (publisher's statement) - MP May 30 2022.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shakespeare; Othello; print history; London; early modern inns of court
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Humanities & Social Sciences (HSS)
Last Modified: 30 May 2022 14:42

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