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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article begins with the arguments of Thomas Wright and William Pyrene against the profitability of printed playbooks, but notes that, by promoting and selling these vendible vanities, the London book trade was willingly and willfully capitalizing on the calculated exchange of spiritual health for financial wealth. Shakespeare depended on the book trade in two senses. As a writer, he engaged with a fertile textual environment. As a published author, the various versions of Shakespeare were produced by commercial and textual networks that both fostered and took advantage of his success. Both the poems and the plays – and Shakespeare's career as a poet and a playwright – were produced collaboratively by the agents working in, and the economic conditions of, the early modern book trade.

Keywords: London book trade, printed playbooks, Thomas Wright, William Pyrene, Shakespeare

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