This SNSF-funded project (2015-2018), led by Lukas Erne and based at the University of Geneva, produced the first critical edition of the early modern printed commonplace book Bel-vedére (1600).

Bel-vedére consists of 4,482 one- or two-line passages of decasyllabic verse, arranged under topical headings, including at least 240 quotations of William Shakespeare, 232 of Edmund Spenser, and fifty-one of Christopher Marlowe. Compiled by John Bodenham (c. 1559-1610) and prepared for publication with the help of Anthony Munday (1560-1633), it appeared in 1600 and received a second edition in 1610. Though a facsimile reprint was produced in 1875, it had never received a modern editorial treatment before the 2020 Cambridge edition. The book is of exceptional importance for the early reception history of early modern authors such as Shakespeare, Spenser and Marlowe, for the late Elizabethan practice of commonplacing, for the rising status of English literature (including dramatic literature), and for early modern English canon formation.

More information about this project is available at You can also read more about Lukas Erne and Devani Singh’s edition of Bel-vedére over at the Cambridge University Press blog.