C. H. Herford and Percy Simpson (eds), Ben Jonson, Vol. 5: Volpone; Epicoene; The Alchemist; Catiline

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AS this volume goes to press, it is a pleasant duty to acknowledge the help which has lightened the labour of producing it. Mr. T. J. Wise, generous as ever, deposited for our use in the Bodleian his beautiful first Quartos of Volpone, The Alchemist, and Catiline. The Quarto of The Alchemist belonging to Corpus Christi College, Oxford, was also deposited there by the librarian, Dr. J. G. Milne. Mr. H. L. Ford lent his two large-paper copies of the 1616 Folio. The Committee of the Clifton Shakespere Society, through their librarian, Mr. H. W. Crundell, lent their copy of the Quarto of The Alchemist. The opportunity thus given for leisurely collation and verification is of the utmost value to an editor. Equally helpful were the rotograph of the Quarto of Catiline in the Cambridge University Library, taken by permission of the librarian, Mr. A. F. Scholfield, and the photostat of the Harvard copy of Epicoene, taken by permission of the librarian, Mr. A. C. Potter.

For permission to photograph title-pages we have to thank the authorities of the British Museum and the Bodleian, and two Oxford librarians, Sir Charles Oman of All Souls College, and Mr. C. H. Wilkinson of Worcester College.

For the frontispiece of the newly acquired painting of Ben Jonson in the National Portrait Gallery pg viwe are indebted to the Trustees. The comments and elucidation of the Director and Keeper, Mr. Henry M. Hake, furnish the substance of an important note which we print on this painting.

For help on textual points we are specially indebted to Dr. W. W. Greg, who gave valuable help with Volpone and the problem of the missing Quarto of Epicoene. Mr. C. E. Batey, of the Oxford University Press, advised us on some acute difficulties of typography. By the courtesy of Mr. Philip Robinson we obtained from the American collector, Mr. Frank Capra, a photostat of some special pages of his large-paper copy of the 1616 Folio. Mr. C. K. Edmonds supplied some readings in the Quarto text of Catiline not found in the copies which we have collated. Mrs. Simpson has again given valuable help in collating and in checking the proofs.

For the readjustment of the readings in the Quarto of Cynthia's Revels, printed in the supplementary notes at the end of the volume, we are indebted to the scholarly help of Mr. A. K. McIlwraith.

With each new volume we are conscious more and more of the debt we owe to the printing staff of the Oxford University Press for the way they have handled proofs which make a severe call on their skill and patience.

The Editor acknowledges with much gratitude the grant of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship pg viimade by the late Lord Leverhulme's Trustees for the two years 1935 to 1937, to give him leisure to complete his work on the text of Jonson. It has quickened the last stage of preparation of the text as nothing else has done since he undertook the edition. It has also enabled him to prepare the text of the sixth volume, which is virtually ready for the printer.

P. S.

  • Oriel College, Oxford,
  • 14 January 1937.

pg viii

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