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Edward Blount (fl. 1588-1632) is described as a man of taste and refinement. The son of Ralph Blount or Blunt, a merchant tailor of London, Edward "put himself apprentice" for a term of ten years to William Ponsonby, a London stationer, on 24 June 1578. Ten years later, in his mid-twenties, Edward Blount was admitted a freeman of the Stationers' Company on June 25 1588. A stationer was more of a bookseller than a book printer. Often, a stationer would bring a book into print himself. He didn't print it himself--that job was performed by a printer. The first work published by Blount is Joshua Sylvester's "The Profit of Imprisonment" (May, 1594). In 1596, he published John Florio's Italian - English dictionary.
Blount figures prominently in the Marlowe (Shakespeare) disguise, but not until 1600, when another publisher of the Churchyard, Tom Thorpe, brought out Marlowe's translation of Lucan's First Book of the Pharsalia, which hints strongly to Blount of a major revelation about Marlowe: "so he better sit down and have a drink, or better yet get away."
Blount first appears as an intimate friend of Marlowe's in 1598, five years after the poet's disappearance, when, "out of respect for the memory of Marlowe," (as he explained then) he brought out the first two books of Marlowe's Hero and Leander (printed by Adam Islip). Apparently this project was left unfinished by Marlowe, or at least that was what Blount and Chapman wanted their reading public to believe.
In a his letter of dedication to Sir Thomas Walsingham, Marlowe's patron. Blount implies that Thomas provided the manuscript, for how else could some future work of Kit's not "first breathe the gentle air" of Tom's liking?
In the same year as Blount's edition of Marlowe's first two sestiads of Hero and Leander was published, a completed version was issued by another publisher, as finished by the poet George Chapman, a friend of Marlowe's and fellow member of the so-called "School of Night," of Sir Walter Raleigh and other intellectual giants of the age, including Hariott, Warner and many others.
The title page features the supposedly dead Marlowe's name in letters nearly twice as large as Chapman's, although Chapman's continuation wrote almost twice as many lines. This may be a testimony to Marlowe's selling power in 1598, thinks Wraight, because on the title page of the second edition, George Chapman's name was dropped off altogether. (Search 222) Did Marlowe himself complete Hero and Leander, and issue it in Chapman's name? Marlovians believe that he did.
Unlike [his four partners in the venture], he had a true taste for literature, and had known Marlowe, even seeing to the posthumous publication of two of Marlowe's poems (Hoffman/Lee). Combine these facts with careful supervision given by Blount to the preparation of all his books for the press, and scholars conclude that Blount was the active--though not very careful--editor of this edition of Shakespeare's plays." (DNB).
Interestingly, another book brought to press by Blount in the same year entitled The Rogue, (translated from Spanish by James Mabbe) also includes commendatory verses by Ben Jonson and Leonard Diggs, and "characteristic addresses" by Blount himself. (DNB).