The Holgate Miscellany: An Edition of Pierpont Morgan Library Manuscript, MA 1057

Renaissance English Text Society (RETS), Vol. 35

The Holgate Miscellany: An Edition of Pierpont Morgan Library Manuscript, MA 1057

By Michael Denbo
2012 | 358 + xxiv pp. | 7 ills. | 978-0-86698-486-7 | Hardcover 6 x 9 in
MRTS 438 | $85 | £63 |

The Holgate miscellany is a handwritten commonplace book created, probably, by William Holgate, who lived in and around Saffron Walden, Essex in the early seventeenth century. It is mainly poetry, but there is some prose. Noted poets include Donne, Shakespeare, Carew, Ralegh, and Jonson, as well as some lesser known poets such as Corbett, Strode, King, Drayton, Dekker, Wotton, and King James. Many poems — often anonymous — are published for the first time in this edition, and therefore give scholars  a chance to write on works that have yet to receive any critical attention.

This is a diplomatic edition guided mainly by the editor’s hope to discover as many copy-texts as possible for its many poems. Thus, among the discoveries recorded by this edition is the fact that Holgate’s first copy-text was a printed book, Robert Tofte’s The blazon of ielousie. Another significant discovery is the close connection found between the Holgate and a section of British Library Add. MS 23229. Several of the poems have political and historical significance, including poems on the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury and the proposed Spanish Match between Charles, Prince of Wales, and the Spanish Infanta.

The work is different from many early modern editions because it does not focus on the work of one author, but of the many authors who are represented in the Holgate manuscript. As such, it is not a critical edition of each and every poem in the manuscript, but an edition of the whole manuscript.