Shakespeare’s Ruined Quires

Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


This chapter considers typographic errors in early modern printed books as a species of lostness. Although authors often envision enduring futures for their works, the material realities of textual transmission always threaten to erode the work as authorially conceived. The chapter takes as its case study the fourth line of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73, which can be read as a meditation on—and an example of—this variety of textual ruination; indeed, the familiar text of this most celebrated line of Shakespearean poetry found in modern editions is based on dubious foundations.


Shakespeare’s Sonnets Textual corruption, textual crux, typographical errors 

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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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