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cast-off copy

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To ‘cast-off’ printer's copy is to estimate in advance how many sheets will be required to print a given manuscript, and to estimate the amount of copy needed to fill a single sheet. The practice meant that work could be shared out among a number of men working simultaneously. It was adopted for the Shakespeare First Folio. Mistakes could result in the spreading out of a small amount of material over a large space, or in the crowding, even omission, of lines. In Titus Andronicus, for instance, at the foot of a page, a single line of verse is printed as two lines (III. i. 95), whereas on the crowded last page of Much Ado About Nothing, verse is printed as prose, words are omitted, and abbreviated forms are used to save space.

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