Peter Blayney

Adjunct Professor; Graduate Faculty

Areas of Interest

  • Early Modern Book Trade
  • Bibliography


Peter W. M. Blayney is an independent scholar, a leading expert on the book trade in Tudor and early Stuart London, and a freeman of the Stationers' Company. Born in Cambridge, he studied at the Royal College of Advanced Technology, Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Northwestern Polytechnic, and Trinity College, Cambridge. He has taught at Cambridge University, the University of Chicago, the Catholic University of America, the University of Delaware, and the University of Toronto. He has been awarded fellowships by Trinity College, Cambridge, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Bibliographical Society, and in 1997 was the inaugural Sam Wanamaker Fellow at Shakespeare's Globe, London.

Representative Publications

The Printing and the Printers of The Book of Common Prayer, 1549-1561. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2022.

"The Flowers in The Muses Garland." The Library, 7th ser., 22 (2021): 316-43.

"Quadrat Demonstrandum." Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, 111 (2017): 61-101.

The Stationers' Company and the Printers of London, 1501-1557. 2 vols. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2013.

"The Publication of Playbooks." In A New History of Early English Drama, ed. John D. Cox and David Scott Kastan, 383-422. New York: Columbia University Press, 1997.

The Bookshops in Paul's Cross Churchyard. Occasional Papers of the Bibliographical Society, 5. London: The Bibliographical Society, 1990.

Current research

As always, my field is the London book trade during the 16th and early 17th centuries. My particular focus at present is on the ownership of texts, from the first English ‘privilege' of 1510, through the start of the Stationers' Register and the Elizabethan abuse of patents, to some untold episodes in the early history of the ‘English Stock' of the Stationers' Company.


BA, University of London
PhD, University of Cambridge