James Purkis’s Shakespeare and Manuscript Drama represents an important milestone in Shakespeare early modern playhouse manuscript studies. Recent contributions to the field, falling roughly between William Long’s ‘Precious Few: English Manuscript Playbooks’ (1999) and Paul Werstine’s Early Modern Playhouse Manuscripts and the Editing of Shakespeare (2013), have effectively deconstructed Greg’s influential categories of ‘foul papers’ and ‘promptbooks’ through which editors and textual scholars were encouraged to recognize early modern playhouse manuscripts. Purkis’s book offers instead a compellingly argued intervention that moves towards rebuilding confidence in the very possibility of establishing how ‘the manuscripts may “extend the structure of valid inference”’ (p. 51).

Particularly useful is Purkis’s working hypothesis, which the book brilliantly validates, according to which ‘the manuscript(s) offer an insistent material ground for rethinking the meaning(s) of the author in a way that reconciles and qualifies’...

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this article.