2.2.3: 1585 - 1725 - Relationship between publisher and author


Something is known of the relationship between publisher and author in individual cases, but it is not clear who usually determined the typographical design (what type of paper, which format, what type, how many illustrations). The question of whether publishers influenced the author's copy with respect to form or content will remain largely unanswered even though it is known that in a few cases a publisher consistently changed an author's spelling. The question of how copy was produced is also a question which, because of the small amount of copy that has survived, cannot be answered conclusively: did the author in his manuscript already account for the typographical design or was an apograph, which had to serve as copy, produced from the autograph?

Although the large number of reprints indicates otherwise, seventeenth-century publishers could not complain about lack of copy. By that time, the Republic had no fewer than five universities (Leiden, Franeker, Harderwijk, Groningen and Utrecht) which served as a source for potential authors, while a large number of foreign refugees wanted to see their texts, forbidden elsewhere, in print there.

There were therefore many different suppliers of a multitude of texts. Authors were usually not or very poorly paid, either because they spoiled the market with a large number of complimentary author's copies or because they received payment from another source (authorities, patron) or because in this period they considered it to be beneath their station to accept money for the fruit of their pens. There were also the better-paid translators, illustrators (often well-known artists such as Romeyn de Hooghe and Jan Luyken) and correctors, and - with the rise in the second half of the seventeenth century of the newspaper and journal (Spectators and scholarly journals) as a new medium - the editors and journalists who had to ensure that new editions were filled and appeared on time.

The relationship between publishers and authors was a different one from that of publisher and translator. The latter was more often commissioned by a publisher; the author usually sought a publisher himself or, if necessary, had the printing done at his own expense (in that case 'for the author' appeared on the title page), although they would often be supported, especially in case of occasional poetry, by a customer (an official body or private patron). Some authors had a regular publisher or, to put it differently, some publishers had gathered together a circle of authors and their businesses acted as a cultural meeting place where various people met. Examples of this are, among others, the artists' and printers' workshop of the Van de Venne brothers in Middelburg and the bookshop of Jacob Lescailje in Amsterdam where authors of plays, poets, translators and actors met one another.

During this period, as far as literary texts are concerned, a development from collective to individual production took place. Anonymous texts from chambers of rhetoric made way to publications with the name of the author on the title page. It also looks as though, from the second half of the seventeenth century onwards, the manufacture of literature was becoming more and more accepted as a way of making a living (possibly by way of patronage): a larger category of so-called hacks came into being. As more publishers arrived, a certain amount of specialisation took place. In addition to publishers of literature, there were those who focused on genres such as almanacs, atlases, travelogues and religious literature.

Information is available on the relationship between the major Renaissance authors and their publishers. Huygens and Vondel took more of an interest in the end result than Hooft; Bredero found a dedicated editor in his publisher, C.L. van der Plasse. Changes to the text were often made right up to the last stages of production. As no form of copyright yet existed, we find, in addition to clearly authorised texts, many unauthorised publications sometimes scraped together by publishers from whatever available source. Early seventeenth-century songbooks were often compiled from apographs obtained by a publisher. Publishers did not shrink from obtaining roles written for actors for an illegal edition either.


author: P.J. Verkruijsse
 
 


Relationship between publisher and author



type areas

Definition: 1. written part of a page in a manuscript; 2. in printed matter: position and dimensions of the type area on the page and the relationship to the surrounding white margins.



type size

Definition: height of the typeface, measured from the top of the ascender to the bottom of the descender; expressed in number of (Didot or pica) points.



type-casting machines

Definition: machine used in a foundry to cast individual letters.



type casting

Definition: the manual or mechanical making of printing type from molten lead by means of casting moulds.



type foundries

Definition: establishment or company where type material is cast.



type founders

Definition: someone who practises the craft of casting type material.



type designs

Definition: process of designing new typefaces; from the first drawing on paper up to and including the assessment of the typographical result.



type designers

Definition: person who designs new typefaces.



type cutters

Definition: person who designs metal letters (for hand composition) and makes punches of them that can be used for making matrices.



type families

Definition: indication of the versions in which a typeface can be designed, e.g. roman or italic, light-face or bold, narrow and wide, etc.



machine-cast type

Definition: type made by means of a type-casting machine.



type areas

Definition: rectangle within which, on a page, text and possibly illustrations are printed.