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The Genesis of the Two Editions

Felicity Heal and Henry Summerson

in The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199565757
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199565757.013.0001

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 The Genesis of the Two Editions

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This chapter discusses the origins of the two editions of The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The initial vision for the Chronicles did not spring from Raphael Holinshed but rather Reyner or Reginald Wolfe, a Dutchman from Gelderland who had moved to London in around 1533, where he became a successful bookseller and printer. In about 1548 he launched the project for a vast ‘Universall Cosmographie’, consisting of descriptions and histories of ‘every knowne nation’. Wolfe chose Holinshed as his assistant in this endeavour, and when he died, around the end of 1573, his executors commissioned Holinshed to complete the project. The first edition of the Chronicles, released in 1577, fell short of the expectations of Holinshed and his fellow authors, which they attributed to the haste in which they were compelled to finish their work. The desire to revise the Chronicles as well as its commercial success led to the publication of the second edition in 1587.

Keywords: Raphael Holinshed; Reyner; Reginald; Wolfe; Universall Cosmographie; history

Article.  8532 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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