The English Short Title Catalog Record for Wroth's Publication

ESTC System No.   006193658
ESTC Citation No.   S122291
Author - personal   LinkWroth, Mary, Lady, ca. 1586-ca. 1640.
Title   LinkThe Countesse of Mountgomeries Urania. Written by the right honorable the Lady Mary Wroath. Daughter to the right noble Robert Earle of Leicester. And neece to the ever famous, and renowned Sr. Phillips Sidney knight. And to ye most exele[n]t Lady Mary Countesse of Pembroke late deceased.
Variant title   LinkPamphilia, to Amphilanthus
Publisher/year   LinkLondon : printed [by Augustine Mathewes?] for Ioh[n] Marriott and Iohn Grismand and are to bee sould at theire shoppes in St. Dunstons Church yard in Fleetstreet and in Poules Ally at ye signe of the Gunn, [1621]
Physical descr.   [2], 278, 289-558, 48 p. ;  2o.

        This tells us that the title explicitly identifies Wroth (or "Wroath"--hear the English sounded vowel?) and links her explicitly to her father, her uncle Phil, and her aunt Mary.  Compare this with Amelia Lanyer's title, published ten years earlier.  It also tells us that the edition included both the prose romance, with its inset songs ("Love what art thou" 1456), and the sonnet cycle.  The pagination suggests strongly that, after the two un-numbered pages (frontispiece and title), the prose romance took up 278 pages, followed by 269 pages of sonnets, and 48 pages of other material.  The final "2o" indicates it was published in "folio" format, with type set to produce two pages per sheet as it is fed through the press, a large-scale edition usually reserved for major works, and unusual in first-time publications by new authors.  To learn more about how type was set to print books in the hand-press era (1451-1800), click here.

        According to the full ESTC record, five copies survive in English collections, and another twelve survive in American and Australian libraries, including two copies at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.  Such a high survival rate suggests, though it does not prove, that the print run was large, perhaps a thousand or more copies.  Why might a printer be willing to take a risk like that with such a big, large format edition by a first-time poet?