The Mystery of Mr PS? — « More Mysteries about the Saint-Omer Shakespeare Folio: Marks of Ownership »

Line Cottegnies and Gisèle Venet

Since the discovery by Rémy Cordonnier of a copy of a Shakespeare First Folio last November in the Saint-Omer public library,[1] the scholars’ attention has focussed on the identity of the mysterious Nevill, whose name stares at any reader opening the book. His identification, it is assumed, must help date at least some of the annotations in the volume itself. The book, however, possesses other distinctive marks, possibly marks of ownership, which are perhaps less prominent at first sight. On nine occasions in the volume the letters P and S appear, hand-stamped in ink at the bottom of the page, either both on the same page, or on two consecutive pages. Hand-stamped initials in books are highly unusual. The positioning of the PS marks in the Folio is also odd, although a regular pattern seems to emerge, as we can show. The presence of the letters PS raises many questions. What could have driven anyone to want to mark a book at regular intervals? This short article describes the phenomenon, as well as other annotations in the Folio, and offers some hypotheses to explain the presence of the marks. It will shortly be published in the peer-reviewed electronic journal etudes-episteme.org,

The full text can be accessed at : https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01120682.

[1] BASO, inv. 2227.