This article challenges A.W. Pollard’s foundational distinction between good and
bad quartos, which confuses ethical and bibliographical categories. Some quartos
are badly inked, or printed on poor-quality paper. But Q1 Hamlet is a professional,
well-made commodity. Zachary Lesser has conjectured that Q1 sold poorly, and
has claimed that the similarity of the title pages of Q1 and Q2 supports that
hypothesis. But both title pages are typical of Ling’s books, and their similarities
are no more remarkable than those in Ling’s different quartos of Michael
Drayton’s poems. Q1 Hamlet apparently sold more quickly than Q2. Using D.W.
Winnicott’s theories about the ‘good enough mother’ and ‘transitional objects’,
we can identify Q1 as a ‘good enough quarto’.
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