As Kastan demonstrates, the Acts and Monuments as it came to exist in the "English imagination" is not one book; "rather, it is several different books, each reflecting the particular interests of its editors, redactors, abridgers
, and publishers every bit as much as they reflect Foxe's own concerns" (129).
It is unconvincing when the would-be dictionary abridgers
deny the problems that obviously accompany sprawl.
In a time when books on tape have reached new heights of popularity and spawned a small industry of book abridgers
, and in which movies discover "The Bard," we benefit from being reminded.
Producers, performers, abridgers
and the like will all be freelance, engaged to work on one title.
And while the abilities of the nine-hundredth abridger
of the History of England, or of the man who collects and publishes in a volume some dozen lines of Milton, Pope, and Prior, with a paper from the Spectator, and a chapter from Sterne, are eulogized by a thousand pens,--there seems almost a general wish of decrying the capacity and undervaluing the labour of the novelist, and of slighting the performances which have only genius, wit, and taste to recommend them.