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Lucrece.
1594

STC 22345 copy 1, title page

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STC 22345 copy 1, title page
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Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Lucrece.
Date: London : Printed by Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, and are to be sold at the signe of the white Greyhound in Paules Churh-yard [sic], 1594.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22345 copy 1, title page & sig. A2r
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Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Lucrece.
Item Date
London : Printed by Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, and are to be sold at the signe of the white Greyhound in Paules Churh-yard [sic], 1594.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 22345 copy 1, title page

STC 22345 copy 1, signature A2 recto

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STC 22345 copy 1, signature A2 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Lucrece.
Date: London : Printed by Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, and are to be sold at the signe of the white Greyhound in Paules Churh-yard [sic], 1594.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22345 copy 1, title page & sig. A2r
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Lucrece.
Item Date
London : Printed by Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, and are to be sold at the signe of the white Greyhound in Paules Churh-yard [sic], 1594.
Repository
Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call Number
STC 22345 copy 1, sig. A2r

Institution Rights and Document Citation

Terms of use
Images that are under Folger copyright are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. This allows you to use our images without additional permission provided that you cite the Folger Shakespeare Library as the source and you license anything you create using the images under the same or equivalent license. For more information, including permissions beyond the scope of this license, see Permissions. The Folger waives permission fees for non-commercial publication by registered non-profits, including university presses, regardless of the license they use. For images copyrighted by an entity other than the Folger, please contact the copyright holder for permission information.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Lucrece.
Date: London : Printed by Richard Field, for Iohn Harrison, and are to be sold at the signe of the white Greyhound in Paules Churh-yard [sic], 1594.
Repository: Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, DC, USA
Call number and opening: STC 22345 copy 1, title page & sig. A2r
View online bibliographic record

Shakespeare’s Lucrece was first printed in 1594, fulfilling his promise to the earl of Southampton in the 1593 dedication to Venus and Adonis of “some grauer labour.” In the dedicatory epistle to Lucrece, which was likewise addressed to Southampton, Shakespeare writes of the “warrant I haue of your Honourable disposition,” which may imply a connection to, or even a reward of some sort from, the young earl. However there is no other evidence to indicate such a connection.

Lucrece was prefaced by a prose argument, derived from Livy’s version of the Lucrece myth, that detailed the political implications of Tarquin’s central crime: namely, that “the state gouernment changed from Kings to Consuls,” thus inaugurating the Roman republic. Despite this political preface, the poem was often considered as an erotic poem, similar to its best-selling predecessor Venus and Adonis. Indeed, the title-pages of the two pamphlets were nearly identical, and so the poems were quite visibly marketed as companion pieces. Like the first edition of Venus and Adonis, the well-printed first quarto of Lucrece was produced in the printing house of Richard Field, a fellow townsman of Stratford-upon-Avon. However, Lucrece was published by John Harrison, who registered his right to the title on May 9, 1594, just a couple of months before Field transferred the rights to Venus and Adonis to Harrison. Lucrece would prove to be one of the most dependable sources of income for Harrison; he published five total editions of the poem, meaning that “Shakespeare” flourished at his shop at the sign of the White Greyhound throughout his career.

Lucrece would eventually reach an eighth edition before 1640, a number that equals his most popular play, Henry IV Part 1. Although Shakespeare is now known primarily as a playwright, in his own time he was first known as the author of his two sensationally successful Ovidian narrative poems.

The copy shown above is held at the Folger Shakespeare Library, and is one of nine known to exist according to the English Short Title Catalogue.

 

 

Written by Adam G. Hooks

Sources

Adam G. Hooks, Selling Shakespeare: Biography, Bibliography, and the Book Trade (Cambridge University Press, 2016).