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In a famous formulation, Gérard Genette wrote: ‘Paratext = peritext + epitext’. By ‘peritext’ Genette means all the additional materials (prefaces, notes, indexes) that are printed in the same volume as ‘the text itself’; by ‘epitext’ he means ‘all those messages which are situated, at least originally, outside the book’, including advertisements, prospectuses, interviews, rough drafts, and reviews. As Genette was fully aware, ‘the ways and means of the paratext change continually, depending on period, culture, genre, author, work, and edition, with varying degrees of pressure’. One feature of this collection, concerned as it is with Renaissance paratexts, is that the great majority of the chapters focus on peritexts rather than epitexts. Without the full apparatus of newspaper and magazine reviews on the one hand and archives collecting authorial manuscripts on the other, epitexts had nothing like the determining function on Shakespeare in the early seventeenth century that they had on Walt Whitman in the late nineteenth century.