Raphael Holinshed Criticism - Essay

Robert Adger Law (essay date 1950)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Law, Robert Adger. “Deviations from Holinshed in Richard II.University of Texas Studies in English 29 (1950): 91-101.

[In the following essay, Law contends that Shakespeare deviated from Holinshed's account of Richard II in the Chronicles to create a more sympathetic dramatic portrayal of the monarch.]

In a number of studies concerning the play of Richard II recently made by competent Shakespeare scholars, no one has questioned the statement that its basic source is Holinshed's 1587 Chronicle, although Dover Wilson suggests a lost play based on Holinshed.1 Yet just how closely the drama follows the Chronicle,...

(The entire section is 3605 words.)

R. Mark Benbow (essay date 1959)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Benbow, R. Mark. “The Providential Theory of Historical Causation in Holinshed's Chronicles: 1577 and 1587.” Texas Studies in Literature and Language 1, No. 2 (Summer 1959): 264-76.

[In the essay below, Benbow compares Holinshed's historiography with that of Abraham Fleming, the editor of the 1587 edition of the Chronicles, noting that Holinshed's sense of providential intervention is implicit whereas Fleming explicitly interprets historical events as foreordained acts of God.]

The reader who makes a comparison of the two editions of Holinshed's Chronicles is struck by certain obvious differences in length and treatment.1...

(The entire section is 5372 words.)

Annabel Patterson (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Patterson, Annabel. “Rethinking Tudor Historiography.” South Atlantic Quarterly 92, No. 2 (Spring 1993): 185-208.

[In the essay below, Patterson argues that Holinshed's Chronicles offers a uniquely multi-vocal documentation of Elizabethan history, one which imagined a middle-class readership interested in drawing its own conclusions from the primary sources.]

More then ten Hollensheads, or Halls, or Stowes, Of triviall household trash he knowes.

—John Donne, Satire 4

Vast, vulgar Tomes … recover'd from out of innumerable Ruins.


(The entire section is 8827 words.)

Arthur F. Kinney (essay date 1993)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Kinney, Arthur F. “Scottish History, the Union of the Crowns and the Issue of Right Rule: The Case of Shakespeare's Macbeth.” In Renaissance Culture in Context: Theory and Practice, edited by Jean R. Brink and William F. Gentrup, pp. 18-53. Aldershot, Hants: Scolar Press, 1993.

[In the following essay, Kinney discusses how Shakespeare manipulated the Macbeth story in Holinshed's Chronicles to comment subtly on the political climate surrounding the succession and reign of James I.]

At only one point in the entire sweep of The Historie of Scotlande, conteyning the beginning, increase, proceedings, continuance, Actes and Gouernemente of the...

(The entire section is 13072 words.)

Annabel Patterson (essay date 1995)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Patterson, Annabel. “Local Knowledge: ‘Popular’ Representation in Elizabethan Historiography.” In Place and Displacement in the Renaissance, edited by Alvin Vos, pp. 87-106. Binghamton, N.Y.: Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies, 1995.

[In the following essay, Patterson examines Holinshed's treatment of the lower classes in the Chronicles, suggesting that such interest in “local knowledge” illuminates the importance of displaying the various aspects of an entire culture in order to comprehend the process of forming a society.]

In time of this rebellion, a priest that by a butcher dwelling within five miles of...

(The entire section is 7214 words.)

Sarah A. Kelen (essay date 1996)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Kelen, Sarah A. “‘It Is Dangerous (Gentle Reader)’: Censorship, Holinshed's Chronicle, and the Politics of Control.” Sixteenth Century Journal 27, No. 3 (Fall 1996): 705-20.

[In the essay below, Kelen explores the dynamics of censorship surrounding the Chronicles, analyzing Holinshed's self-enforced censorship as well as types of external control employed by readers and by the Tudor government.]

Paradoxically, censorship gets a lot of press. Libraries set up displays of banned books, and for those of us who would claim affiliation with any political group to the left of fascism and to the right of Maoism, that a given book has been banned...

(The entire section is 8745 words.)

Alison Taufer (essay date 1999)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: Taufer, Alison. “The ‘Historie of England’.” In Holinshed's Chronicles, pp. 21-53. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1999.

[In the following essay, Taufer surveys both the 1577 and 1587 editions of the Chronicles, demonstrating how the relatively objective tone of Holinshed's edition shifts to a more polemical and strident tone in Abraham Fleming's edition.]

Tudor historians tended to evaluate the past in terms of its lessons for the present. Edward Hall's Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Famelies of Lancastre and Yorke, which related the history of the War of the Roses, was a warning to those who wished to avoid civil chaos and preserve...

(The entire section is 14201 words.)