What are the source texts used by William Shakespeare when constructing Richard II?

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Scholars pinpoint William Shakespeare's authorship of Richard II to either 1594 or 1595 at the earliest, since one of The Bard's primary sources was not listed in the Stationer's Register until this time. Shakespeare was believed to have used the following sources as the basis for his play:

  • Samuel Daniel's epic poem, The Civil Wars (1594-1595 or earlier)
  • Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotlande, and Inlands (1587)
  • Edward Hall's (or Halle's) The Vionon of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and York (1548) 
  • An anonymous play, Thomas of Woodstock
  • Jean Froissart’s Chronicles (1525)
  • Several French manuscripts of accounts of King Richard’s reign.
  • Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II (1593)