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date: 04 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines a key historical text of Shakespeare’s time (and a major source for his history plays), Raphael Holinshed’s ‘Chronicles’, published in two separate and quite distinct editions in 1577 and 1587 respectively. The chapter first situates the Chronicles within the wider context of late medieval and Tudor vernacular historical writing (in particular the chronicling tradition); it then illustrates some of the differences between the two editions with a focus on the contributions of different authors to the composite text, the treatment of Irish history, and a consideration of the issue of government censorship of the two editions. It also briefly reviews changing assessments of Holinshed and the chronicling tradition in modern scholarship.

Keywords: Holinshed, chronicles, annals, history, Ireland, rebellion, Elizabeth I, John Foxe, censorship

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