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About this text

  • Title: Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Selection)
  • Editor: Rosemary Gaby

  • Copyright Rosemary Gaby. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Raphael Holinshed
    Editor: Rosemary Gaby
    Peer Reviewed

    Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Selection)

    Introduction

    1[Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland(1587 edition) was one of Shakespeare's most frequently consulted sources and provided the main outline for events inHenry IV, Part One.The Chronicles were produced by a team of around a dozen writers, described by Annabel Patterson as "a syndicate of middle-class entrepreneurs and antiquarians" (3). Raphael Holinshed was a key driving force behind the first edition of 1577, but he died in 1580 well before the substantially revised second edition was published. For convenience, however, the work is commonly referred to via Holinshed's name. As the product of several writers and a wide range of sources, the Chronicles is characterized by diverse opinions and attitudes. It reflects an attempt to document or chronicle events as they happened year by year, and as such it provides a wide-ranging and unstructured narrative which acknowledges a degree of uncertainty about the veracity of its materials and often suggests alternative readings of events. For Henry IV Part One Shakespeare selected only a few of the events recorded for the period in the Chronicles. The play's depiction of multiple viewpoints does, nevertheless, owe a lot to the characteristic tone of this source. The following modernized selections from Holinshed are based on the online text provided by the Holinshed Project and the facsimiles provided by the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image, University of Pennsylvania.]