About the MUSC Copy
The copy presented in the MUSC (the Meisei University Shakespeare Collection database) is Ben Jonson's 1616 Folio copy shelf-marked `932 J72 1616g' and coded `MR1092-f', sized 280x185 mm. It was acquired by the Library in 1981. The copy is annotated here and there in pen and ink or in pencil. We can see an annotator apparently working on editing The Alchemist in May and June `74'.
Unfortunately the copy coded `MR1092-f' is not a complete copy. The binding being completely decayed, it lacks 18 pages in all: ¶2, ¶2v, ¶6-A1v, G3-G4v, M3-M4v and Qqqq3-Qqqq4v. In place of the authentic general title page (¶2, ¶2v), the copy has been provided with a substitute general title page made with a handwritten title mounted on the title page of Every Man Out of his Humour that once belonged to some other copy.
As for these lacking pages, MUSC presents the images taken from another copy in the holdings of the Meisei University Library, coded MR 781. These pages are so noted on the screen.
The copy coded MR781, acquired by the Library in 1980, is a presentation copy. Barely preserved on the blank verso of the title page are Jonson's autograph compliments: `To my most fear'd and honor'd Friend | Mr. Tho. Farnabie | Ben Ionsons Guift ...'.
This is the copy Mark Bland refers to as `sold at the Arthur Houghton sale, Christie's, 13 June 1979, lot 275, copy sold to Fleming and now in Japan' (p. 29n.) It is sized 315 x 200mm. The large paper with typical watermarks is used for printing of this copy as is often the case with the presentation copy.
March 31, 2008