11 The Printing of the 'Bear': New Light on the Second Edition of Hobbes's Leviathan

I

There are three early editions of Thomas Hobbes's Leviathan, all of them bearing the imprint 'Printed for Andrew Crooke at the Green Dragon in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1651'. The identity of the genuine first edition is not in doubt: known as the 'Head' edition (from the ornament on the printed title page), it was indeed produced by Hobbes's usual publisher, Andrew Crooke, in 1651. The other two editions, known by their title page ornaments as the 'Bear' and the 'Ornaments', are page-by-page reprintings of the 'Head'. The order in which these two further editions appeared is also beyond dispute: from the evidence of errata, and from the changes in the state of the famous engraved title page (worn in the Bear, heavily retouched in the Ornaments), it is clear that the Bear was the second edition, and the Ornaments the third. 1 However, nothing has yet been established with any certainty about the dating of these two editions. To Hobbes scholars the issue is, or should be, of more than antiquarian interest: the Bear contains a small number of significant textual changes, and it is therefore important to know whether this printing was, as it is sometimes called, a 'pirated' edition, or whether these material variants may have originated with Hobbes himself. 2 (The Ornaments edition reproduces these changes, being evidently copied from the Bear; but it makes no new material alterations, and is therefore of much less interest to editors of Hobbes.) Our knowledge of Hobbes's final intentions, where the English text of Leviathan is concerned, is incomplete so long as the key questions about the Bear edition—who printed it, where, when, and why?—remain unanswered.

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