Published online by Cambridge University Press: 06 December 2010
The Distribution of the Hands.
The palæographical study of the More manuscript was first systematically undertaken in the Malone Society's edition of the play printed in 1911. The different hands in which the manuscript is written were there clearly distinguished and the portions contributed by each fully, and I believe accurately, set forth. It will not be necessary here to do more than briefly summarize the facts.
The manuscript contains six different hands, exclusive of that of Edmund Tilney, the Master of the Revels, who, as censor, made certain notes and alterations and is probably also responsible for a few marginal marks. These hands the edition designates as S, that of the scribe of the original play, and A, B, C, D, E, those in which the additions are written. I shall use the same symbols in the following discussion, but shall for convenience use each to designate indifferently the handwriting or the scribe that wrote it.
S is responsible for the whole of the original fair draft of the play so far as it has survived (one or more leaves are missing after folio 5 and again after folio 11) but took no part in the revision. He wrote a well-formed and very regular hand with almost meticulous care, but it is distinctly of a literary rather than a professional type.