Until the middle of the nineteenth century no scholarly edition had been published of the complete works of the most renowned poet and playwright of the Dutch Golden Age: Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679). Jacob van Lennep, one of the most renowned authors of the nineteenth century, took it upon himself to edit such a publication, augmented with especially-made illustrations, a biography and explanatory notes. It was published in twelve volumes by Hijman Binger in Amsterdam between 1850 and 1869. The project took much longer than Van Lennep could foresee, because there were many widespread works and editions of Vondel’s writings that had never been studied before. Although there were quite a few subscriptions, the project did not do well financially. In 1862 Van Lennep founded a ‘Society for the Continued Edition and Exploitation of the Works of J. van Vondel’, with shares of a thousand florins each.
After completion of the de luxe edition Binger and Van Lennep would also publish a trade edition, but another publisher beat them to it. He was charged with plagiarism, but Binger and Van Lennep lost the lawsuit as the copyright laws of the time were not in their favour. When Van Lennep died in August 1868, he had just completed the last volume.
Having first briefly informed the reader on the life of the Puritan Arthur Hildersham (1563-1632), author of Fonteyne des levens, and of its Dutch translator, the Reformed Pietist Arnhem minister Daniel van Laren (b. 1585), and its Arnhem publisher Jacob van Biesen (d. 1677), this article deals in detail with the complicated history of its editions. Furthermore, it examines the relation between Van Laren and Van Biesen and between Van Laren and Hildersham. Its central theme is Van Biesen’s dedication in the 1669 edition of Fonteyne des levens, a book of 780 pages in a quarto format, in which the publisher gives unique information on the total number of copies in the print runs of Fonteyne des levens and on the history of his printing house. His father-in-law Jan Jansz (d. 1629) had founded it in 1599. After the death of his father-in-law in 1629, he was his successor. By the time of writing of his dedication, both men combined had printed a total sum of over ‘five tons of gold worth’ of books in several subject areas and languages. In his dedication, the publisher also sets the total number of copies in the book’s print runs since 1646 at over 4,000. This figure in fact covers three editions and means that Van Biesen printed the Dutch translation of Hildersham’s work in runs of roughly 1,400 copies at a time. Fonteyne des levens was only one of the many Dutch translations of Puritan works in the seventeenth century, of which nearly 850 distinct editions are known. Print run numbers, however, were hitherto unknown. The discovery of Van Biesen’s information enables us to conclude that there were in the order of 1,275,000 copies of Puritan works circulating in Dutch translation in the seventeenth-century Netherlands.
Book lists in early books are a well-known phenomenon. Yet they have still received little scholarly attention. In this article, one particular type is named, classified, and its origins and early history investigated: the commercial oeuvre list. This is a list of all available books written, translated, or edited by the author of the publication in which the list appears, and commercially issued by the relevant publisher. As a result of this last attribute, the list also came to function as an announcement of forthcoming publications. Properly considered, the commercial oeuvre list formed an entirely new development in the advertising technique of the book trade: the reader elevated from purchaser to a determining factor for the advertisement. The first to make use of such a list was the Amsterdam publisher Marten Jansz Brandt. In 1622, he issued the earliest known commercial oeuvre list. It concerned the popular and prolific writer, Willem Teellinck, father of the Dutch Reformed pietist movement, the Further Reformation. Given the concordance between the anthropological leanings of Teellinck's writings and the user-friendliness of the new form of advertising, it is no surprise to find them linked. At any rate, Brandt aimed at a specific reading-public: that of the pietist readers. Over a period of more than forty years, no less than fifteen lists appeared concerned with Teellinck's works. The longest contained 53 items. This long duration and large number of lists and items make it possible to study the various developments of the commercial oeuvre list in the first period of its existence. It turns out that the content was regularly updated up to and including the tenth list (1647) in accordance with what was in stock, and a reprint was introduced as soon as an edition was sold out. Brandt was responsible for eight of the fifteen known lists. The publishers Anthony de Later in Vlissingen and Theunis Jacobszoon Lootsman in Amsterdam followed his example in 1632 and 1647 respectively. For all three, when they first introduced commercial lists of Teellinck's works, it was a case of wanting to become his regular publisher. In other words, behind such lists were not only booksellers' but also publishers' interests. Oeuvre lists serve as trustworthy evidence to identify an author, translator, or editor of anonymous or pseudonymous publications. They therefore demand an intensive and far-reaching study. The register of book lists in books at the STCN office of the Royal Library, The Hague, recently made accessible, can therefore be of great service. That three of the fifteen lists examined - including the oldest! - are known only from copies in private hands, indicates in addition that these locations can't be left out of consideration in future research.
Publication by subscription is a sales technique developed in England in the seventeenth century. It was probably not introduced to the German-speaking countries until after 1725. The first hitherto known instances in the Netherlands date from after 1680. The article describes the publication of two linguistic works by Sephardic Jews which are the earliest known examples of works published by subscription in Holland and Germany. The first of the works concerned is the Hebrew Mikhlal Yophi, a commentary on the Bible of which an edition prepared by Jacob Abendana appeared in Amsterdam in 1662. An exchange of letters between Abendana and Antonius Hulsius is indicative of the former's attempts at recruiting subscribers. Abendana's efforts concentrated on Leiden, where in about 1660 he, his brother Isaac and the rabbi David Cohen de Lara, formerly of Hamburg, were living as private Hebrew tutors and booksellers. Abendana used an approbation of his book by the Leiden professors Cocceius, Heidanus and Uchtmannus to support his request for permission to dedicate his work to the States General. This was a more conventional way of acquiring funds from the state. At the same time the dedication, the approbation and a letter from the Basle Hebraist Johan Buxtorf jun. were intended to smooth the book's path to the Christian reading public. A case is also presented for the publication by subscription of David Cohen de Lara's Keter Kehunna (Hamburg 1668). Cohen de Lara's initiative goes back to the example set by Abendana, who, in turn, probably borrowed the idea from the London Polyglot. Finally some observations are presented concerning the conspicuous popularity of this method of publishing with Sephardic Jews interested in language. A comparison with the events surrounding the appearance of the Dutch translation of Athanasius Kircher's Mundus subterraneus, subscriptions for which were opened in 1678, makes it probable that Abendana's work was one of the first ever to be published by subscription.