The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 24.0224  Tuesday, 7 May 2013


From:        John Briggs <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         May 6, 2013 9:39:55 PM EDT

Subject:     Re: SHAKSPER: Hollinshed


William Rubinstein wrote:


It is almost always said that Shakespeare used the second, 1587, edition of Holinshed in writing his History plays.


Can we be sure of this? Is it possible to point to references in these plays which were based on material in the second edition which did not appear in the earlier edition?


According to Kenneth Muir, The Sources of Shakespeare’s Plays (1977), this was all chewed over by W.G. Boswell-Stone, Shakespeare’s Holinshed (1907). The situation is complicated by Shakespeare using multiple sources (he used Hall’s Chronicle and Grafton’s Chronicle as well as Holinshed), but in Richard III, v.iii.324 he reproduces a mistake (“mother’s” for “brother’s”) from the 1587 edition of Holinshed (Muir p.33; Boswell-Stone p.417).


John Briggs


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