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Some problems posed by «suelta» editions of plays

Don William Cruickshank

University College, Dublin

Spanish plays of the Golden Age may survive in three different forms: unpublished, as a manuscript; and published, either collected in a parte or singly as a suelta. No one has ever conducted any census on this matter, but the comedia suelta may well be the commonest of the three forms. A scholar who wishes to edit a Golden-Age play needs first of all to discover whether it survives as a suelta and, if it does, the relative importance of the suelta text or texts.

Plays were published singly (i. e., as sueltas) from the early sixteenth century onwards, but for practical purposes the suelta period runs from 1600 to 1850. In this article I shall refer (somewhat arbitrarily) to sueltas printed before 1700 as «early», and to those printed after this date as «late».

Discovering whether a play survives as a suelta -or, more frequently, how many different sueltas it survives in- can take up a good deal of time. There are large numbers of suelta collections throughout the world, and since some plays have survived in more than thirty different suelta editions, the conscientious editor will find it necessary to check as many collections as possible. Fortunately, a good deal of time can be saved by using printed sources.

The best kind of printed source is an author bibliography which tries to list, differentiate and describe all the known editions of a given author. Unfortunately, these are rare:

  • Joseph E. Gillet, Propalladia and other works of Bartolomé de Torres Naharro, 4 vols. (Bryn Mawr and Philadelphia, 1943-61); I, 1-128.
  • K. & R. Reichenberger, Bibliographisches Handbuch der Calderón-Forschung, 3 vols.: I (Kassel, 1979); II (at press); III (Kassel, 1981).
  • Maria Grazia Profeti, Per una bibliografia di Juan Pérez de Montalbán (Verona, 1976); Addenda et corrigenda (Verona, 1982).
  • Maria Grazia Profeti, Per una bibliografia di Felipe Godínez (Verona, 1982).
  • Maria Grazia Profeti and Umile Maria Zancari, Per una bibliografia di Álvaro Cubillo de Aragón (Verona, 1983).
  • Franco Bacchelli, Per una bibliografia di A. Castillo Solórzano (Verona, 1982) (includes his few plays and shorter dramatic pieces).

Splendid though these bibliographies are, they do not list, differentiate and describe all the sueltas of the author in question: they list all the sueltas known to the compilers, and differentiate and describe all the sueltas which the compilers have managed to examine, either personally or by proxy. Bibliographies are incomplete, almost by definition: any determined scholar who can afford to devote all of his or her energies to a single play stands a good chance of finding a suelta not listed even by the best bibliographers.

For many other authors, there are less detailed bibliographies. These are either less comprehensive or (more commonly) do not attempt to differentiate or describe the items they list; sometimes they do not say where these are preserved. (In this section I make no attempt to be exhaustive. Scholars seeking bibliographies of a particular author should in the first instance consult Warren T. McCready's Bibliografía temática de estudios sobre el teatro español antiguo [Toronto, 1966], which runs from 1850 to 1950 inclusive; they should then consult the bibliographies published in the Bulletin of the Comediantes, which will take them from 1951 to the present).

  • Piedad Bolaños Donoso, La obra dramática de Felipe Godínez (Seville, 1983), pp. 687-96.
  • María Soledad de Ciria Matilla, «Manuscritos y ediciones de las obras de Agustín Moreto», Cuadernos Bibliográficos, 30 (1973), 75-128.
  • E. Cotarelo y Morí, «Don Diego Jiménez de Enciso y su teatro», BRAE, 1 (1914), 209-48, 385-415, 510-50.
  • ——. «Don Juan Bautista Diamante y sus comedias», BRAE, 3 (1916), 272-97, 454-97.
  • ——. «Dramáticos españoles del siglo XVII: Don Antonio Coello y Ochoa», BRAE, 5 (1918), 550-600.
  • ——. «Dramáticos españoles del siglo XVII: los hermanos Figueroa y Córdoba», BRAE, 6 (1919), 149-91.
  • ——. «La bibliografía de Moreto», BRAE, 14 (1927), 449-94.
  • ——. «Mira de Amescua y su teatro», BRAE, 17 (1930), 467-505, 611-58; 18 (1931), 7-90.
  • Gareth A. Davies, A Poet at Court: Antonio Hurtado de Mendoza (1586-1644) (Oxford, 1971), pp. 328-34.
  • E. W. Hesse, «Catálogo bibliográfico de Tirso de Molina (1648-1948)», Estudios, 5 (1949), pp. 806-11.
  • W. A. Kincaid, «Life and Works of Luis de Belmonte Bermúdez (15877-1650?)», RH, 74 (1928), 1-260.
  • R. R. MacCurdy, «Francisco de Rojas Zorrilla, bibliografía crítica», Cuadernos bibliográficos, 18 (Madrid, 1965), pp. 24-30.
  • Rafael Montilla, Vida y obras de D. Francisco de Leyva y Ramírez de Arellano, autor dramático malagueño del siglo XVII (Málaga, 1947).
  • Thomas Austin O'Connor, «Don Agustín de Salazar y Torres: A Bibliography of Primary Sources», Bulletin of Bibliography and Magazine Notes, 32 (1975), 158-61, 167, 180.
  • María Cruz Pérez y Pérez, «Bibliografía del teatro de Lope de Vega», Cuadernos bibliográficos, 19 (Madrid, 1973).
  • Walter Poesse, Ensayo de una bibliografía de Juan Ruiz de Alarcón y Mendoza (Valencia, 1964).
  • F. E. Spencer & R. Schevill, «The Dramatic Works of Luis Vélez de Guevara: Their Plots, Sources and Bibliography», University of California Publications in Modern Philology, 19 (1937).
  • Gerald E. Wade, «Cristóbal de Monroy y Silva», BCom, 5 (1953), no. 1, 3-9.

Next in usefulness after the author catalogues come the catalogues of particular collections. The most useful of these are the ones relating to sueltas in particular:

  • Víctor Arizpe, The Spanish Drama Collection in the Ohio State University Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (Kassel, 1990).
  • B. B. Ashcom, A Descriptive Catalogue of the Spanish comedias sueltas in the Wayne State University Library and the Private Library of Professor B. B. Ashcom (Detroit, 1965). This has now been revised: Howard A. Sullivan & Henry N. Bershas, The Wayne State Collection of comedias sueltas: A Descriptive Bibliography (Detroit, 1984).
  • A. J. C. Bainton, Comedias sueltas in Cambridge University Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (Cambridge, 1977).
  • ——. Comedias sueltas in Cambridge University Library (2): A Descriptive Catalogue of the Edward M. Wilson Collection (Kassel, 1987).
  • Hannah E. Bergman & Szilvia E. Szmuk, A Catalogue of comedias sueltas in the New York Public Library, 2 vols. (London, 1980-81).
  • Mildred V. Boyer, The Texas Collection of comedias sueltas: A Descriptive Bibliography (Boston, 1978).
  • Karl C. Gregg, An Index to the Spanish Theatre Collection in The London Library (Charlottesville, 1984).
  • ——. An Index to the Teatro español Collection in the Biblioteca de Palacio (Charlottesville, 1987).
  • Josef Johanides & Pravoslav Kneidl. «Un choix d'imprimés de la Bibliothèque de Mladá Vožice», Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae, Series C, Historia Litterarum (1961), 119-95.
  • Eduardo Juliá Martínez, «Comedias raras existentes en la Biblioteca Provincial de Toledo», BRAE, 19 (1932), 566-83; 20 (1933), 252-70.
  • William McKnight & Mabel Barrett Jones, A Catalogue of comedias sueltas in the Library of the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, 1965).
  • J. A. Molinaro, J. H. Parker & E. Rugg, A Bibliography of comedias sueltas in the University of Toronto Library (Toronto, 1959).
  • Jaime Moll, Catálogo de comedias sueltas conservadas en la Biblioteca de la Real Academia Española (Madrid, 1966). (Also published in parts in BRAE, 44 [1964], 113-68, 309-60, 541-56; 45 [1965], 203-35; 46 [1966], 125-58).
  • J. M. Regueiro, A Catalogue of the comedia Collection in the University of Pennsylvania Libraries (New Haven, 1971).
  • P. P. Rogers, The Spanish Drama Collection in the Oberlin College Library: A Descriptive Catalogue (Oberlin, 1940).
  • Szilvia E. Szmuk, A Descriptive Catalogue of a Collection of «Comedias sueltas» in the Hispanic Society of America, vol. I (Ann Arbor, London: University Microfilms International, 1985).
  • María Vázquez Estévez, Comedias sueltas del «Institut del Teatre» en Barcelona (Kassel, 1987).
  • Edward M. Wilson & D. W. Cruickshank, Samuel Pepys's Spanish Plays (London, 1980).

To these may be added the following:

  • M. Agulló y Cobo, «La colección de teatro de la Biblioteca Municipal de Madrid», RLit, 35 (1969) 169-213; 37 (1970), 23374; 38 (1970), 189-252; RBAM, 3-4 (1978), 125-87; 5 (1979), 191-218; 6 (1980), 129-90; 7-8 (1980), 223-302; 9-10 (1981), 103-83; 11-12 (1982), 259-351 (includes manuscripts as well as printed editions).
  • Carlos M. Clavería & Miguel Batllori, «Una colección de ediciones de teatro antiguo español en la Biblioteca Provincial y Universitaria de Barcelona», Butlletí de la Biblioteca de Catalunya, 7 (1923-27), 213-31.
  • Ada M. Coe, «Comedias en la biblioteca de Ada M. Coe», BCom, 10 (1958), no. 1, 12-15; no. 2, 9-16.
  • Warren McCready, «A volume of rare sueltas», BCom, 6 (1954), no. 1, 4-8.
  • Eligius von Münch-Bellinghausen, «Über die älteren Sammlungen spanischer Dramen», Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Klasse der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, 3 (1852), 113-58.
  • Antonio Restori, «La collezione CC* IV. 28033 della Biblioteca Palatina-Parmense», Studii di Filologia Romanza, 6 (1893), 1-56.
  • Bruno Scarfe, «17th to 19th Century Editions of Spanish Drama: A Personal Collection», BCom, 24 (1977), 126-35 (not a catalogue, but a general description of the collection).
  • Karl-Ludwig Selig, «A Volume of comedias de ingenios [in Cornell University Library]», BCom, 18 (1966), 36-9.
  • ——. «Four Volumes of Rare comedias sueltas in the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel», BCom, 39 (1987), 5-20.

Not all of these catalogues and lists are equally useful. The ones which give sufficiently detailed descriptions to permit bibliographical comparison with other copies or editions preserved in other collections are those of Bainton, Bergman & Szmuk, Boyer, Szmuk, Vázquez Estévez, Wilson & Cruickshank. Some catalogues go to the trouble of cross-referring to other catalogues.

The investigator should never lose sight of the fact that large numbers of Golden-Age plays are wrongly attributed in suelta editions. Some catalogues address this problem, but by no means all. An investigator who consults a number of catalogues will soon discover whether a play has been ascribed to different authors in different editions.

More general catalogues of particular collections also list sueltas, although rarely separately. The most important of these are the general catalogues of the British Library, London, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. The American National Union Catalog of pre-1956 Imprints is always worth consulting, even if it is less comprehensive in practice than it aspires to be in theory. Smaller collections include:

  • Harold G. Jones, Hispanic Manuscripts and Printed Books in the Barberini Collection, 2 vols. (Vatican City, 1978).
  • Joaquín Montaner, La colección teatral de Arturo Sedó (Barcelona, 1951).
  • Valeriano Soave, Il fondo antico spagnolo della Biblioteca Estense di Modena (Kassel, 1985), (includes 137 comedias sueltas).
  • J. L. Whitney, Catalogue of the Spanish Library and of the Portuguese Books Bequeathed by George Ticknor to the Boston Public Library (Boston, 1879).
  • Paola Ledda and Marina Romero Frías, Catalogo dei «pliegos sueltos poéticos» della Biblioteca Universitaria di Cagliari (Pisa, 1985), (lists nine comedias and autos sueltos in the Appendix, as well as many relaciones de comedias in the work proper).

The most important collection of sueltas is almost certainly that in the Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid. There is no published catalogue of this collection, but some author bibliographies have been compiled with reference to it. One bibliography which tries to take account of the collection is José Simón Díaz's Bibliografía de la literatura hispánica (Madrid, 1962-; vols. I-VI, 2nd ed, 1962-1973; vols. VII-XIV, 1970-1984). Researchers who cannot make the trip to Madrid to consult the Biblioteca Nacional's fichero in person must make do with this bibliography. Still in progress, it has reached the letter M (Mijangos). Other catalogues which can prove useful are:

  • Nicolás Antonio, Biblioteca hispana nova (Rome, 1672); there is an edition of Madrid, 1784, which also exists in a modern facsimile.
  • B. J. Gallardo, Ensayo de una biblioteca española de libros raros y curiosos, 4 vols. (Madrid, 1863-89; 2nd ed, Madrid 1968).
  • P. Salvá y Mallén, Catálogo de la Biblioteca de Salva, 2 vols. (Valencia, 1872).
  • F. Escudero y Perosso, Tipografía hispalense (Madrid, 1894) (lists sueltas on pp. 609-24).
  • A. Restori, Saggi di bibliografia teatrale spagnuola (Geneva, 1927).
  • A. Palau y Dulcet, Manual del librero hispano-americano, 28 vols. (Barcelona, 1948-1977); Index in progress (Barcelona, 1981-).
  • Maria Grazia Profeti, «Appunti bibliografici sulla collezione "Diferentes autores"», in Miscellanea di Studi Ispanici (Pisa, 1969-70), pp. 123-86 (some of the volumes described are made up of sueltas, and where this happens, the fact is noted). A revised and enlarged edition has been produced by Edition Reichenberger under the title La collezione «Diferentes autores» (Kassel, 1988).
  • Francisco Aguilar Piñal, Impresos sevillanos del siglo XVIII (Madrid, 1974), (lists many sueltas, with locations, since Seville was a major printing centre for them).
  • Francisco Martí Grajales, Ensayo de una bibliografía valenciana del siglo XVIII, 2 vols. (Valencia, 1987), (lists many sueltas, with locations).

I have not seen M. Carrión Gútiez, Manual de bibliotecas (Madrid, 1987), but I suspect that it may offer information on less well known libraries that may include sueltas in their collections.

Finally, there is a small number of specialised studies of printers who produced sueltas:

  • Jaime Moll, «Las nueve partes de Calderón editadas en comedias sueltas (Barcelona, 1763-1767)», BRAE, 51 (1971), 259-304.
  • Warren T. McCready, «Las comedias sueltas de la casa de Orga», in Homenaje a William L. Fichier, ed. A. David Kossoff & José Amor y Vázquez (Madrid, 1971), pp. 515-24.
  • Jaime Moll, «La serie numerada de comedias de la imprenta de los Orga», RABM, 75 (1968-72), 365-456.
  • A. J. C. Bainton, «The comedias sueltas of Antonio Sanz», Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society, VII, 2 (1978), 248-54.
  • J. Martín Abad, «Series numeradas de la imprenta salmantina de la Santa Cruz», Salamanca. Revista Provincial de Estudios, 20-21 (1986), 147-200.

The most important contribution of this kind is that of W. J. Cameron, who in 1987 published ten bibliographical pamphlets dealing with sueltas produced by Seville printers between 1680 and 1775; full details can be found in BCom, 41 (1989), 253-54 (items 18-27).

Once the would-be editor has tracked down as many different sueltas as possible, the next step is to determine exactly how many different editions are involved. It should be remembered that reprints of sueltas are often extremely similar to earlier editions: as already indicated, few catalogues provide enough detail to distinguish one reprint from another. The only absolutely reliable way of doing this is from the original or from photographs. Even when photographs are used, there will be cases when it will be necessary to use a ruler to distinguish two copies of one edition from one copy each of two different editions. (The technique is simple: lay a ruler down in the same position on the two photographs; if it cuts through the various lines at the same point on each occasion, the two photographs are of the same edition. If not, then the two photographs are of different editions. This test should be carried out on more than one page).

Once the various editions have been sorted out, the investigator will want to discover where and when each one was printed. Sueltas come in several forms:

  1. Sueltas posing as part of a collected volume.
  2. Sueltas which happen to have been bound together, possibly for a collector's convenience.
  3. Sueltas which are still what their name implies, not bound with other material.

For identifying sueltas in the first category, investigators should consult the first volume in this series, pages 66-71. It is sufficient here to reiterate the point that the dates on the title-pages of these made-up volumes are not to be trusted.

As far as imprints are concerned, there are four basic categories of sueltas:

  1. Sueltas with a genuine imprint and date.
  2. Sueltas with a genuine imprint.
  3. Sueltas with a false imprint and/or date.
  4. Sueltas with no imprint or date.

Fortunately, the third category does not appear to be very large. However, since the other three are all large, and since most early (and therefore important) sueltas are in category 4, any editor who expects to rely heavily on sueltas should be prepared to come to an informed conclusion as to where and when an imprintless one was produced. A certain amount of information on this matter has already been published, but as improvements have been introduced, it will bear repeating here1.

Figure 1 shows the first page of La desdichada Estefanía. A glance at Morley and Bruerton's La cronología de las comedias de Lope de Vega (Madrid, 1968), pp. 60-61, 85, tells us that Lope's autograph manuscript has survived and that the play was published in his Parte XII (1619). We therefore know that the attribution is correct, and that this suelta, while possibly interesting, will not be the starting-point for a new edition.


The first thing an editor should do with any unfamiliar suelta is collate it2. This one is a quarto and has three gatherings signed A, B and C. The first two gatherings have eight leaves each, the third, four: a total of twenty. Thus the collation formula is: 4°. A-B8 C4. The numbering is by leaves, not by pages.

This information is already helpful. Virtually all sueltas are in quarto, but «quarto in eights» (i. e. with eight leaves per gathering, as in A and B here) is very rare (unknown?) in sueltas after 1670, when quarto in fours is the norm. Gatherings were signed with letters of the alphabet until some time after 1800: the modern system of using numbers was apparently introduced about 1810. Foliation (as opposed to pagination) is a less reliable guide: almost all early sueltas are numbered by leaves, all late ones by pages. Unfortunately, the date of the change-over varied considerably from printer to printer. In this case, however, the use of foliation helps to confirm that this suelta is early.


As a general rule, early sueltas are more prodigal of space than late ones. This one «wastes» space at the top of the page by using rows of metal ornaments (very early examples even use

Figure 1

Figure 1

woodblock figures, supposedly of characters in the play). This play has no serial number, which would normally be at the top of the page. Printers began to introduce numbered series of plays at the very end of the seventeenth century. The lack of a serial number does not prove that a suelta is early, but it does offer supporting evidence. There is nothing unusual about the title or the words COMEDIA FAMOSA, which are virtually standard. The author's name is set in a typeface of generous size. As for the heading of the cast-list, this is normal, but the large type used, plus the division into only two columns, is again prodigal of space, and suggests an early date. The fact that the first act is headed ACTO PRIMERO rather than JORNADA PRIMERA is significant. The word acto is usual in Lope, but later printers tended to standardize, using only the word jornada.

When we look at the text, we must take account of running headlines, the use of spelling (and other accidentals including capitalisation, punctuation, accentuation) and type.


Even without knowing anything about type design, the investigator can glean a good deal of information about dates and even about places. Spain was never a major type-producing country, so most sueltas are printed in faces which are both old and of foreign design. Faces designed in the sixteenth century had no J or U, only I and V: thus JUAN was set IVAN. By the 1670s printers in Seville were beginning to use J and U, especially J; by the 1690s this was also the case in Madrid. The change took a long time to extend itself to all sizes and designs of type, but any suelta that uses only the modern convention is almost certain to be later than 1700, perhaps even later than 1750. Other early typographical features are the use of accents on words which no longer carry them, especially if grave, circumflex and acute are mixed. The long s, which looks like an f with most of the cross-bar removed, was normal in all early sueltas, but vanished slowly and unevenly in the later eighteenth century. Printers who obviously lack or are short of certain sorts, such as roman or italic ñ, italic j or italic capitals, are much more likely to be operating in the seventeenth century.

The sizes of type used to print the texts of sueltas can be significant. The standard seventeenth-century type for plays was pica. In Spain pica might measure between 79 and 89 mm per 20 lines3. Pica of less than 85 mm per 20 lines is commonest before 1650, while 85 mm and larger is almost always later than 1650, and particularly associated with Madrid. (The Fig. 1 example is printed in pica of about 84.5 mm per 20 lines). Small pica (70-75 mm per 20 lines) seems to have become common in Spain only in the late seventeenth century. Small pica was sometimes used then and in the early eighteenth to print part of a suelta (with the rest in pica) in order to fit the text neatly into a convenient number of pages; this practice was especially common in Madrid. Small pica also became common as a text-type for entire sueltas in the eighteenth century. Long primer (66-69 mm) points to Seville printing. This size was being used for plays as early as the 1670s and, by some Seville printers at least, for the next century. Plays were occasionally printed in sizes larger than pica, e. g., english (90-99 mm per 20 lines). Larger sizes imply seventeenth-century work.

Spelling and other accidentals

Anyone who reads a number of Golden-Age plays in «pre-modern» editions will notice progressive changes in spelling. Early spellings are y for i (Luys, Ruyz, Zayde, Ceydan, i. e., internally, as in Fig. 1, or yr for ir, etc., which is even earlier); ç for z (e. g., moço for mozo); v for u in initial position (e. g., vn for un) and u for v or b internally (viuo for vivo, huuo for hubo); s for x (estremo for extremo, as in Fig. 1); x for j (e. g., dixo for dijo), g for j (sugecion, as in Fig. 1); ss (with two long ss, or a long and a short s) for s, etc.

Capitalisation of words not now capitalised (mostly nouns, but not always) is a seventeenth-century trait which extends into the eighteenth. As for punctuation, the general rule is, the earlier, the more basic. Many printers of plays were short of ? and !, and much improvisation can be detected: an inverted semicolon was often used as a query, an inverted i or part of a rule as an exclamation mark. (This, and the use of a mixture of different roman and/or italic queries can often help to identify individual printers, as we shall see). Modern inverted punctuation (¿¡) came into use in the second half of the eighteenth century, but only sporadically. I do not think I have seen ¿ and ¡ in a suelta before 1790; many printers were still using the old system at least into the 1810s. The use of :: or ::: or ::- (or even :::: and :::-) for modern three points (...) was apparently introduced by Sanz of Madrid in the 1740s, perhaps earlier. This usage became general in the second half of the eighteenth century, and was still in use in the 1810s. Modern usage (i. e., points rather than colons) apparently began about 1790. As for accents, much of the type in use in Spain in the seventeenth century was of French design, so that grave and circumflex accents were common, and were used indiscriminately. I believe that circumflex accents used in quantity indicate an early suelta. Grave accents were widespread until the 1770s, when modern acutes took over. However, the grave accent occurs at least into the 1790s, especially in the single-letter words à, ò, ù and è.

Running headlines

The commonest type in running headlines is italic caps and lower case. This style is pretty standard in the eighteenth century. One also finds italic caps alone in some sueltas printed around 1700 (and in those by Escuder of Barcelona, in the 1750s); roman caps and lower case are also found as late as 1700, but they are most common before 1650. The suelta illustrated in Fig. 1 (La desdichada Estefanía) uses roman caps and lower case: yet another reason for supposing this print to be an early one.


Bruno Scarfe is the only scholar to attempt to investigate problem sueltas via paper4. The approach is certainly valid, but there are several difficulties to be surmounted. First of all, in quarto books, watermarks are to be found in the fold of the inner margin: disbinding may be necessary to get a proper beta-radiograph of the watermark, or even a good look at it. Second, many sueltas are printed on poor paper, with no watermarks at all. Third, reference books offer only patchy assistance for the period in question. As matters stand at present, we do not know enough to place and date a suelta from paper alone: paper offers corroborating evidence. However, if paper does not confirm evidence from other sources, we cannot rely on that other evidence.

*  *  *

We can now turn to practical examples. We have already seen from Figure 1 that the evidence from spelling, signatures and typographical style all points to quite an early production date, probably before 1650. As it happens, this suelta is bound in the unique volume Doze comedias nuevas de Lope de Vega Carpio, y otros autores. Segunda parte («Barcelona, 1630»)- This proves nothing about the date of our suelta, but it does provide a starting-point for further research.

A suelta cannot be dated and assigned to a specific printer without reference to typography, and, in particular, to types and ornaments used. One does not need to know the designer of a typeface in order to identify it, any more than one needs to know who cut a woodblock ornament. A good photograph or photocopy will enable comparisons to be made. The process is basically simple: all the types and ornaments from an imprintless and/or undated suelta need to be traced in books which do have reliable dates and imprints. Some, probably even most typefaces recur frequently, especially in Spain, where a few typefounders had to serve the needs of many printers. However, combinations of different types and ornaments are almost always peculiar to individual printers. Adulteration of one face by another will offer further evidence, and damage to individual pieces of type, if it is present, can be conclusive5.

Sixteenth-century typefaces usually have little «contrast» (contrast, that is, between thick and thin parts of the letter). They have what is called «oblique stress», not «vertical stress» (that is, if one draws a line through the two thinnest parts of the capital O, the line will be oblique, not vertical). Finally, they have «bracketed serifs» (that is, the flourishes at the ends or corners of the main strokes of a letter do not form a right angle at the point where they join those strokes, but have instead a gradual curve, like a supporting bracket). As for italics, those of the sixteenth century have many more «ligatured» (i. e., joined) sorts than later designs, and many letters have both plain and «swash» styles. Swash letters are more decorative, and often have flourishes.

All the types in Figure 1 have sixteenth-century characteristics except for ESTEFANIA. This has bold contrast, especially in the A, vertical stress (e. g., in the S), and while some serifs have heavy brackets (top right in E and F, bottom right in E), others have very little bracketing (N, A). In fact this type was cut by the Vatican Press about 1610. It is found in Rome books from 1612, in Seville from 1618, in Madrid from 1619 (and subsequently throughout Castile), in Valencia from the late 1620s, in Zaragoza from about 1630, but not in Cataluña or Portugal or any other European country. It does turn up in Lima as early as 1621, however, and was still in use in Córdoba (Argentina) in the 1760s. It was used in Madrid at least until 17686.

On the basis of this design alone, we can eliminate Barcelona or any Catalan printer immediately. In fact, we would do well to begin our investigations in cities where these Vatican capitals were used early and frequently: Seville and Madrid.

The words LA DESDICHADA are set in the ascendonica romaine (double pica roman) capitals of the French designer Robert Granjon, who cut them in 15697. Their use is too widespread to tell us much. The capitals used in COMEDIA FAMOSA, De Lope de Vega Carpio, are Granjon's capitales sur deux lignes de cicéro (two-line pica capitals), first recorded in 15678. These are much too common to tell us anything. However, Granjon cut no lower case for this face, and that used here is foreign to it. This lower case is apparently peculiar to Seville printers in the first third or so of the seventeenth century.

The words «Hablan...» and ACTO PRIMERO (and the running headlines, not shown here) are set in the texte romeine (great primer roman) of Ameet Tavernier of Antwerp, first recorded in use in 15539. This face was used in Madrid and Lisbon in the latter part of the sixteenth century, and in Madrid again in the early eighteenth century. In the long interval between these records, it is found most frequently in Seville.

The large italic used for the cast-list is the texte italique (great primer italic) of François Guyot of Antwerp, first recorded in use in 154710. This design is pretty widespread in Spanish Golden-Age printing, and tells us little enough. Although it does have swash forms of some letters (compare C in Ceydan and Conde, or A in Albumasar and Almohadi), the unusually decorative (and extremely distinctive) capitals B, P and R are the standard design for this face. When we look down at the italic used in the text, we find the same very distinctive R, as it were in miniature, and, indeed, that all the letters correspond in design to their counterparts in the larger size. This is hardly surprising: the smaller size is the médiane italique (pica italic) of the same cutter, François Guyot, and dates from 155311. These two italics illustrate an important aspect of type design: that faces produced by the same designer can often be extremely alike, a fact which can often help us to identify the designer. Guyot's médiane is actually much rarer in Spain than his texte: there are a few examples of it in Madrid late in the seventeenth century, but almost all (all?) its early use is confined to Seville, from at least 1582 onwards.

The last face in this suelta is the roman used in the text, a version of the cicéro romain (pica roman) of Pierre Haultin of La Rochelle, the original of which was in use by 155812. This face is not common in Madrid printing, but at the same time not rare enough elsewhere to provide a sure guide. It is common in Seville in the early part of the seventeenth century. In the present example the face has no fewer than three different queries. One of them is the standard roman query for this face. Another is the query from Guyot's médiane italique, the italic used in the text. The third is the query from Guyot's médiane romaine, a rare face first seen in use in 1544, and in Spain only in Seville in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries13.

The information from the typefaces used in this suelta suggests that investigation should continue among Seville printers in the first part of the seventeenth century. In some cases such information will be sufficient to categorise a suelta as important or unimportant. If confirmation is required (and in the case of a potentially important suelta, confirmation is desirable), then the investigator needs to examine dated books in order to find the same combination of typefaces, and in the same state of wear and adulteration (if any), as in the suelta. Finding such books is not easy: only two major collections have the kind of indexes that permit us to construct a list of their holdings printed, for example, in Seville between 1610 and 162014. The alternative to these is to look up the bibliographies of particular cities, and then try to find accessible copies of the books listed there15.

As noted above, our suelta of La desdichada Estefanía forms part of a volume dated 1630. If we accept this date provisionally, and the typographical evidence which points to Seville, we can soon demonstrate, with the aid of the British Library's unusually good holdings for Seville in the 1620s and 1630s, that the suelta was printed by Simón Faxardo of Seville between 1625 and 1630. That is, we use the Seville section of the index of printers (by city) in the Goldsmith catalogue (see note 14) to find out who was printing in Seville in the decade prior to 1630. Next, we look up each printer in the individual printer index, in order to compile what we hope will be a good sample of his work. Then we look at the samples to find which of them has the typefaces used in our suelta. In this case our suelta has eight faces (counting the Guyot médiane romaine queries as a separate face). This is a good number, and we would be lucky to find so many in just one other book. However, on this occasion we are very lucky, and all eight can be found in a mere pamphlet, the anonymous Exhortación hecha al Christianissimo rey de Francia (593.h.l7[43]), which was printed by Faxardo in 1626. Once we have got this far, supporting evidence from other Faxardo material is easily found16.

If all of this sounds easy, the response is that the final part of the process is laborious rather than difficult. (By «final part» I mean getting from «Seville, in the decade or so before 1630» to «Simón Faxardo of Seville, about 1627».) The difficult part of the exercise is guessing at a date and (especially) at a place from internal evidence alone.

The next practical example is of a suelta from what is known as the pseudo-Vera Tassis edition of Calderón, specifically the Séptima parte of «1683» (see Figure 2, and for «pseudo» editions of Calderón, see the previous volume in this series, pp. 70-71). This

Figure 2

Figure 2

is a quarto in fours, A-D4, with no page numbering, which suggests a date after 1670. The title-page has a serial-number at the top (Num.6.), suggesting a date around 1700 or later. The layout is reasonably generous, with a limited amount of white space, although there is less than in the previous example. The text uses two sizes of type, pica of 86.5 mm per 20 lines, and small pica, 75.5 mm. The use of two sizes of type points to a date around 1700. The use of small pica, and of pica on an 86.5 mm body, is in keeping with this. We note the presence of long s and of capital U in QUE and in CUerpo, of J in JORNADA, and of/in Juan (but V in Vn Sargento). Among the «early» spelling forms we may note Atayde, Christo, haze, vn, cabeças, etc., unnecessary accents on Isabèl, tràs, parèmos, etc., and frequent capitalisation (e. g. Lugar, Gitanos, Vandera, Caxa, etc.). None of this is incompatible with a date around 1700.

When we examine the type designs, we at once recognise the: 13 mm Vatican capitals (see note 6) in COMEDIA. Num. 6, and the play's title are set in Robert Granjon's petit canon romain (two-line pica), which is very common17. FAMOSA is set in the dos líneas de lectura (two-line pica) capitals of Pedro Disses of Madrid, first used in 168518. As we have noted, this suelta claims to be part of Calderón's Séptima parte of 1683, but we could reject it as a fraud on the evidence of this type-face alone. The designs cut by Disses were slow to travel, and by the date of this suelta had not progressed beyond Madrid. The italic used for the author's name, in the pica part of the text, and for running headlines, is a copy, apparently based on Granjon's St Augustin cursif, series 3 (english italic). This design was common in Madrid around 170019. The corresponding text roman is Granjon's gros cicéro romain (pica roman), adulterated; first used about 1568, it is common in Spain20. The smaller text italic is hard to identify, but it appears to be a copy of Granjon's Valentine (long primer)21. It too is apparently common in Madrid about 1700. The small pica roman used in the text is also hard to identify. I think it is Hendrik van den Keere's philosophie romaine, dating from about 158022. In any event it is common in Madrid at least around 1700.

I do not know who printed this suelta, but there can be little doubt that it was produced in Madrid around 1700. If more

Figure 3

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 4

precise details had to be obtained, these preliminary findings would presumably provide an adequate starting-point.

The suelta illustrated in Figure 3, Antonio de Zamora's El lucero de Madrid, y divino labrador San Isidro, is another quarto in fours, collating A-E4. It carries an imprint: Valencia, Viuda de Joseph de Orga, 1765. The Orga family printed plays from 1761 to 1803, and the widow in particular from 1761 to 1770; this suelta is recorded by McCready and Moll23.

By the second half of the eighteenth century, most Spanish printing-houses were beginning to acquire the new type-faces which were being produced in Spain, and which have been little studied in comparison with those of earlier manufacture. A few very old faces are still visible here, such as the texte romain (great primer roman) attributed to Garamont (ORNADA PRIMERA), which had been cut two and a half centuries earlier. When we compare this suelta with other Orga sueltas printed around 1765, however, we notice that this one has fewer of the traditional type-faces, that the accentuation is suspiciously modern (e. g., García, María, Música, which would not have carried accents in 1765), and that all the accents are acutes; finally, long s is not present. The explanation for these anomalies is that we are dealing here with what Scarfe has called a «concealed reprint». The existence of such reprints («concealed» because they reproduce the date of an earlier edition) was noted by Moll, and, with reference to the Orga series in particular, by Scarfe24. This particular suelta was probably printed about thirty years later than it claims to be. I believe, from a somewhat cursory examination of the type, that it really was printed by the Orga family, although fraudulent reprints produced by rivals are not unknown. From the editor's point of view, it would not make a great deal of difference: the important thing in either case would be to recognise the reprint as such, so that the original edition could be located.

The final example, of Calderón's La puente de Mantible, has no imprint (Figure 4). It collates as quarto, A-D4. All of the type-faces used are of the eighteenth century: the roman of the title and the italic of the author's name, with their bold contrast and large, generally unbracketed serifs, are particularly obvious. The text-type (a small pica of 74 mm per 20 lines), the spelling, accentuation (acutes except for one-letter words à, ò, etc.), the lack of long s (except in the ligature st, and that not consistently) combine to point to the second half of the eighteenth century. The unostentatious style, with small titling capitals and no ornaments, is typical of Barcelona play-printers of this period. In particular, Carlos Sapera, who printed plays from 1764 to 1774, or his contemporary and associate, Francisco Suriá, seem the most likely candidates. I have seen the damaged N of CALDERÓN, with its bent upper serif, in a play printed by Sapera in 1764. Such damage, though unlikely to be unique, is significant.

There are in existence sueltas produced by printers who had very short careers, or whose output is such that it will not be possible to identify plays printed by them. Even in such cases it should be possible to date them to within a decade or two. The task of studying imprintless sueltas would be greatly simplified if we had more (and bibliographically detailed) catalogues of existing collections; if we had more studies of the distribution of type designs throughout Spain; if we knew much more about the origins and dates of introduction of the new eighteenth-century designs; and if we had more published catalogues of major collections of Spanish books in general, with printer indexes25. This is a lot to ask, but in the computer age it is a good deal less than it was fifty years ago.