Marks from an Anxious Corrector: Fernando de Herrera
In 1580, the Sevillian poet Fernando de Herrera published his annotated edition of the poetry of Garcilaso de la Vega: Las obras de Garcilaso de la Vega con anotaciones de Fernando de Herrera (Sevilla: Alonso de la Barrera, 1580). Theoretically, Herrera had “full control” over the printing of this work. For instance, he arranged the casting of special types to reflect his orthographic idiosyncrasies, such as vowels with dieresis and the letters "j" and "i" without tilde; and it is very likely that he was the main corrector. Indeed, Herrera’s must have been anxious about any embarrassing misprints that would spoil his ambitious project to restore the text of Garcilaso as a vehicle of a new poetics in the vernacular. Regrettably, during and after printing, Herrera and others working in the printing shop detected numerous errors, obliging them not only to insert two successive errata lists, but also to make stop-press and hand-made corrections.
One of the most remarkable bibliographical features of this edition is the existence of three different states of the preliminary gathering, which, in Spanish books of the time, contained the legal apparatus that authorized the publication: approval, license, and privilege. In Herrera’s edition, the first state of the preliminary gathering consisted of a single quarto sheet containing the title page, the license (issued by Juan Gallo de Andrada on September 5 1579), the approval by Alonso de Ercilla, and a dedication to the Marquis of Ayamonte, D. Antonio de Guzmán.
But shortly after the death of D. Antonio de Guzmán on the 20th of April of 1580, there was an important addition to the preliminary gathering when printing was almost completed: a half quarto sheet containing a new dedication, now addressed to D. Francisco, the son of the deceased Marquis, and an list of eleven errata. Incredibly, the process of revision continued after printing was completed because an entirely new preliminary was issued: a quarto sheet was reset with regular font as opposed to the one originally commissioned by Herrera. It consisted of the title page and five pages comprising 149 errata.
Some of the errata of the first list record stop-press corrections, which, by its own definition, did not affect those sheets that were still being printed while the advanced sheets were checked for errors. After printing had ended, Herrera continued the frantic work of emendation, probably with the aid of others. These corrections appear in the same hand-writing and ink in multiple extant copies, including the one held at the Special Collections Research Center. For instance, as shown in the next four images, the repeated "que la" is crossed out (pag.47); "resplandescan" should be read instead of "resplandecian“ (pag.171); "al” was added in the phrase “i no al paxaro” (pag.359); and, finally, an extra “n” was crossed out and a missing line has been printed at the very end, including the addition of the correct catchword: "lo que" (pag. 376).
Searching for Printers' Errors
A Question of Provenance: Marks from Isaac Newton's Library