MENU
Venus and Adonis.
1596
Contributed by

C.21.a.37, title page

View Image Assets
C.21.a.37, title page
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Date: Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596.
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.37, title page, A2r-A2v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Item Date
Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.37, title page

C.21.a.37, signature A1 verso

View Image Assets
C.21.a.37, signature A1 verso
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Date: Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596.
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.37, title page, A2r-A2v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Item Date
Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.37, sig. A1v

C.21.a.37, signature A2 recto

View Image Assets
C.21.a.37, signature A2 recto
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Date: Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596.
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.37, title page, A2r-A2v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Item Date
Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.37, sig. A2r

C.21.a.37, signature A2 verso

View Image Assets
C.21.a.37, signature A2 verso
Click image to enlarge

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Date: Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596.
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.37, title page, A2r-A2v
View online bibliographic record

Item Creator
William Shakespeare
Item Title
Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Item Date
Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596
Repository
The British Library, London, UK
Call Number
C.21.a.37, sig. A2v

Institution Rights and Document Citation

 

From the collections of: THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Terms of use
The British Library has graciously contributed the above images to Shakespeare Documented under a Creative Commons Public Domain Mark.

Copy-specific information
Creator: William Shakespeare
Title: Venus and Adonis. Vilia miretur vulgus: mihi flauus Apollo Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua. MS. notes [by George Daniel and Thomas Rodd]
Date: Imprinted at London by R[ichard] F[ield], for John Harison, 1596.
Repository: The British Library, London, UK
Call number and opening: C.21.a.37, title page, A2r-A2v
View online bibliographic record

The fourth edition of Shakespeare's popular narrative poem Venus and Adonis was published in 1596, three years after the first edition. This fourth edition was the last to be printed by Richard Field and sold by John Harrison. Unlike the three previous editions, this edition specifically mentions Harrison by name on the imprint, whereas the first three editions said only that the book could be purchased "at the signe of the white Greyhound in Paules Church-yard." However, in 1596, Harrison moved to another shop, also called the White Greyhound, near his original shop. Therefore the revised imprint shown here might have served to minimize confusion about where to purchase the book. Harrison assigned his right to copy Venus and Adonis to William Leake on June 25, 1596  "in full Court."

Like the third edition, the fourth edition is imposed as an octavo rather than as a quarto, and because it was set in smaller type, it still comprises 27 leaves. It may have been intended to be bound with other short poetic pamphlets, and all of the subsequent early editions are also octavos.

Although Shakespeare is now known primarily as a playwright, in his own time he was equally revered as the author of Venus and Adonis, first printed in 1593, and Lucrece, his two sensationally successful Ovidian narrative poems. Venus and Adonis appeared in more printed editions than any other work of vernacular poetry in his lifetime, and was published twice as many times as his most successful play, Henry IV Part 1

This copy was purchased by the British Museum in 1864 for £336 and, along with the museum's other books, became part of the British Library's collections under the 1972 British Library Act. It is one of two copies known to survive; the second copy is part of the Bodleian Library collections.

To learn more about the plot and early printing history of Venus and Adonis, please visit the Folger's Shakespeare's Works; to read a modernized edition of the poem, see Folger Digital Texts.

 

Written by Erin A. McCarthy

Sources
Peter W.M. Blayney, The Bookshops in Paul's Cross Churchyard (London: Bibliographical Society, 1990).

Jeffrey Todd Knight,  Bound to Read: Compilations, Collections, and the Making of Renaissance Literature (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013).

Sidney Lee, ed., Shakespeares Venus and Adonis: Being a Reproduction in Facsimilie of the First Edition (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905).

Marta Straznicky, ed., Shakespeare's Stationers: Studies in Cultural Bibliography (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012).

Last updated June 19, 2017