Printers, Publishers, and the Chronicles as Artefact

David Scott Kastan and Aaron T. Pratt

in The Oxford Handbook of Holinshed's Chronicles

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199565757
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Printers, Publishers, and the Chronicles as Artefact

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  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This chapter presents details behind the printing and publishing of the Chronicles. Publishing was a risky venture, especially with the substantial material and labour costs associated with a book as enormous as the Chronicles. The first edition was, upon its release in 1577, bigger than any other individual work printed in England to that point, containing approximately 742 sheets. Binding is another factor, the costs of which were shouldered by either booksellers selling ready-bound copies or individual customers commissioning their own bindings. The first edition of the Chronicles was printed by Henry Bynneman on the presses in his print house on Knightrider Street in late 1577. He was commissioned by a consortium of four men: John Harrison, Lucas Harrison, George Bishop, and John Hunne, the son-in-law of Reyner Wolfe's widow, Joan. These were the Chronicles' first publishers. By 1584, confidence that the first edition would soon sell out was sufficiently high that a new partnership was formed registering their intention to publish a second edition.

Keywords: printing; publishing; binding; first edition; Henry Bynneman

Article.  12061 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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