YOUR BOOK-STACK, on the counter . . .
(Surreptitious Printing). The dovvnefall of temporizing poets, unlicenst printers, upstart booksellers, trotting mercuries, and bawling hawkers. [London]: Printed merrily, and may be read unhappily, betwixt Hawke and Bussard [but really, J. Barker, printer, Great Russell street, Covent Garden., for J. Sturt], 1641 [i.e., ca. 1815]. Small 4to (20 cm; 7.75") bound in a tall 8vo (24 cm; 9.5").  f., 5, [1 (blank)] pp. $750.00
The subtitle of this satire is: "Being a very pleasant dialogue between Light-foot the mercury, and Suck-bottle the hawker, Red-nose the poet being moderator between them: the corruptions of all which by their conference is plainly described."
Dagmar Freist in Governed By Opinion: Politics, Religion and the Dynamics of Communication in Stuart London characterizes this work as "the fullest account of this [1640s] satirical perception of the London booktrade [as lawless]." She further opines that "without a doubt, the pamphlet was drafted for a small => street-theater performance, given, for instance, stage directions such as 'Enter Poet.'" The work is "packed with allusions to well-known people, circumstances, and cliches."
In the underground London pamphlet world of the mid-17th century, "bawling hawkers" were wandering booksellers who sold pamphlets, newspapers, and books, while "trotting mercuries" were men and women who were => known to cross-dress and who sold "new books" as opposed to "good books." They were also notorious scolds.
The title-page has two woodcut images: to the right a man smoking a pipe and wearing a ruff, in large close-up, and to the left a standing woman holding a cup in one hand with her other resting on a large triangle bearing images of a ewer and another cup — both figures with rather elaborately dressed hair!
Having said all of the above here is where I confess that I (DMS) originally catalogued this item as an original 1641 printing only to be gently informed by John Overholt of the Houghton Library that it is a type facsimile of the original, one of a number of type facsimiles that J. Sturt caused to be printed and which he openly sold. Originally it bore his imprint information, but that has been removed. The type used is a good approximation of the original and the paper is old, and in this copy without a watermark. => When used in conjunction with the digitized "certified original" copy in EEBO, this is a great teaching tool.
Provenance: 19th-century diamond-shaped bookplate of Henry Cunliffe.
For this edition: Hazen, "J. Sturt facsimilist," in The Library, 4th ser., XXV, pp. 72–79; McKitterick, Old Books, New Technologies, pp. 89–90. For the original: Wing (rev. ed.) D2088; ESTC R23145; Freist, pp. 85–86. Late-19th- or early-20th century half red morocco with marbled paper sides, plain endpapers. Leaves no longer conjugate and each one sewn in with a blank sheet separating it from the next; and with added blank leaves at rear for bulk in binding. Minor spotting, some foxing, and age-toning, a grin-provoking spine title, and => one of the best imprint lines ever seen. (37235) Please RESHELVE This.
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