The Beetle and the Bard

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  • Title: The Beetle and the Bard: Aspects of 17th Century Printing Practice as Illustrated by the Works of Thomas Moffet and William Shakespeare
  • Author(s): Alexandra Alvis
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Information, Medium & Society
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of the Book
  • Keywords: Book History, Print History, William Shakespeare, Entomology, Typography, Woodcuts
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2019
  • ISSN: 1447-9516 (Print)
  • ISSN: 1447-9567 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1447-9516/CGP/v17i02/15-28
  • Citation: Alvis, Alexandra . 2019. "The Beetle and the Bard: Aspects of 17th Century Printing Practice as Illustrated by the Works of Thomas Moffet and William Shakespeare." The International Journal of the Book 17 (2): 15-28. doi:10.18848/1447-9516/CGP/v17i02/15-28.
  • Extent: 14 pages

Abstract

The studies of the works of William Shakespeare and the history of entomology are not rife with commonalities at first glance, but when compared using print history as a frame, aspects of the fields begin to overlap in fascinating ways. This article explores these overlaps, with a focus on information gleaned from material evidence in the textual ornaments included in both Shakespeare’s First and Second Folios and Thomas Moffet’s “Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum.” By tracing the printing chronologies of these works, as well as who printed them, we are able to deepen our understanding of both the time in which they were made and their importance as artifacts.