Negligence and Virtue: Errata Notices and their Evangelical Use
da Costa, Alex
The Library: the transactions of the Bibliographical Society
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da Costa, A. (2018). Negligence and Virtue: Errata Notices and their Evangelical Use. The Library: the transactions of the Bibliographical Society, 19 (2), 159-173. https://doi.org/10.1093/library/19.2.159
In 1528, Tyndale ended his edition of The parable of the wicked Mammon (RSTC 24454) by apologising to his reader that ‘divers thinges are oversene thorow negligence in thys lytle treatise’. He simultaneously marvelled ‘that it is so well as it is’ and argued that ‘it becometh the boke even so to come as a morner and in vile apparell’ (fol.63v). There then followed just two rather minor errata. In this highly constructed notice, Tyndale used the presence of error to allude to the difficulties of printing under persecution and so to implicitly equate poor printing with greater textual virtue, unlike the more easily printed and corrected texts of the traditional Church. By drawing attention to just two mistakes, he also paradoxically emphasized the quality of the printing achieved and bolstered the reader’s sense that this was a careful text, accurately grounded in scripture by ‘compare[ing] the textes together’ (sig. A2r). Tyndale’s use of the errata notice exemplifies the way in which they were used in the early sixteenth century. This essay will argue that errata notices were almost unknown in books printed in English before the late 1520s and that they came into more frequent use because writers and printers saw their marketing or rhetorical potential and not because printers became more vigilant.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/library/19.2.159
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/286601