n.1.The book used by a prompter of a theater.
References in classic literature ?
cried the little man, with a hearty smack of his hand on the prompt-book.
Miss Podsnap faintly ejaculated: when Mrs Lammle took the prompt-book.
Shakespeare versus Multiple Authorship: Prompt-book and Performance
I am quoting the text from the prompt-book of the production for precision in the description of the performance and the page numbers in the text refer to the prompt-book.
The author's intentions may have been over-determined by a knowledge of the player's capability; the composer of the prompt-book's intentions--if indeed the prompt-book was in any way an intermediate stage between author and compositor--may have been occasioned by theatrical practice, and the compositor's intentions will almost certainly have been over-determined by the practice of the printing-house.
The only actual prompt-book that I have seen, that of Dekker's The Welsh Ambassador, does not, I seem to recall, include the names of actors in speech-prefixes (which is, of course, F.
In The Shakespeare First Folio Greg himself observes that the "bookkeeper seems to have annotated exactly as though he were dealing with a prompt-book," but he attempts to explain the supplementations by suggesting that that the duplications are made "as though the transcript were certain to follow the original page for page.
By 1955 Greg himself conceded that the absence of Herbert's license was "[n]ot in itself a very weighty objection" to The Captives' status as a "prompt-book," and he noted that "out of fifteen supposed prompt-books at least four appear not to have born licence.
Depending on the proximity of the prompt-book that contains the play-text to the time of the premiere, a play-text can reflect the final version of a production to a lesser or greater extent.
This means that the text is thoroughly modernized and theatrical versions are preferred over authorial ones: "the Oxford editors prefer, when there is a choice, copy based on the prompt-book to copy based on the author's own draft" (72) .
McGann's notion of the "social text," they argued that "dramatic texts are necessarily the most socialized of all literary forms" and thus sought to recover, in their edition, the text that they felt was "closer to the prompt-book of Shakespeare's company.
However, mindful of the fact that pinning Rabelais down is risky business and that he wrote comic fiction, not an ethical prompt-book, Desrosiers-Bonin peppers her discussion, appropriately, with discreet disclaimers: "la philosophie morale de Rabelais echappe a tout systeme dogmatique defini" (28); "Rabelais ne disserte pas sur l'ethique" (29); "Ayant expose les parametres ethiques dont la fiction rabelaisienne pratique le plus souvent l'ellipse mais sur lesquels elle s'articule.