William Ponsonby

(c. 1546—1604) printer and bookseller

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Apprenticed to the printer William Norton from 1560, Ponsonby was admitted to the Stationers’ Company in 1571. He opened his first premises at St Paul's Churchyard in 1577. Ponsonby is principally remembered as the publisher of Sidney and Spenser. In 1590 he issued the first three books of Spenser's Faerie Queene, with the remaining three following in 1596. In between, he published several other works by Spenser, including Complaints, for which he penned an ‘Address’ to the reader. In 1588 he was given the right to publish Sidney's Arcadia, which appeared in 1590. A second edition, overseen by Mary Herbert, countess of Pembroke, whose translations Ponsonby had published in 1592, appeared in 1593, and a new edition with other works in 1598. Ponsonby’s successful career ensured that he left his widow, Joan, a wealthy woman.

From The Oxford Companion to the Book in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Bibliography.

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