Entry by Melanie Friedman: First Edition of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, 1623

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The artifact below is a photo of the first physically printed copy of The Duchess of Malfi. It was published in 1623. The play went through two productions before publishing which were successful enough because the viewers immensely enjoyed them. This artifact is fascinating because The British Library website where I found it contains photos of a copy of the complete booklet that contains the script. This is very rare because people were able to read the play exactly how it was originally written. It also is rare in fact that it contains parts of the play that were written but not staged because they cannot be read or seen anywhere else. The photo of the image contains writing that states “The perfect and exact Coppy”. It is interesting this was printed on the copy because it also proves how exact this copy was to the original way the play was written. John Webster is signed as the creator, publisher, and editor of the print and it was important that he made himself a large part of these processes because copyright did not exist yet.

Author: Melanie Friedman

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  • type
  • created on
  • file format
  • file size
    781 KB
  • creator
    John Webster
  • credit
  • rights
    Public Domain
  • rights holder
    The British Library