The Network Behind ‘Tottel's’ Miscellany

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date



Songes and Sonettes, written by the ryght honorable Lorde Henry Haward (1557), was a landmark volume in English printing history and literary culture. However, its origins are poorly understood. While half a dozen possible editors have been suggested, critics have increasingly settled that role on the printer, Richard Tottel. The Network behind Tottel's' Miscellany uses new manuscript evidence to show the involvement of one William Digges of Newington-next-Sittingbourne, Kent. Writing between the end of 1555 and the summer of 1557, an anonymous correspondent asked Digges to collect copies of Wyatt's works from bothe out of your owne store and from my ladye wiat. William was a cousin of Leonard Digges (who carried the letter), a relative of Thomas Wyatt the younger and a business partner of William Brooke, future Lord Cobham. His associations in these years point not to Tottel as the originating force behind the Miscellany, but to a network of network of kin, admirers, and frendes of olde Sir Thomas wiat. If Songes and Sonettes initiated a trend in which printers rather than authors gathered and published poetry, it did so only by suggesting a production model in which it did not fully participate.

This document is currently not available here.