Holinshed and the Native Chronicle Tradition

Alexandra Gillespie and Oliver Harris

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

 Holinshed and the Native Chronicle Tradition

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This chapter discusses the relationship of Holinshed's Chronicles to the chronicle tradition. It demonstrates how the Chronicles were compiled amidst various forces for change that intersected with established medieval techniques for chronicling the past. The work of Holinshed and his collaborators has been described as poly-vocal and innovative. They inherited their ‘poly-vocal’ style along with their materials from the work of past chroniclers. Holinshed and his collaborators developed new traditions of writing in the vernacular that began in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century chronicles, and benefited from the translation of other kinds of historical text from Latin or French into English in this period. The Chronicles can also be seen as a logical outcome of the late medieval growth of a commercial book trade and a widening readership for vernacular books, both of which had invigorated native chronicle traditions well before the Elizabethan period.

Keywords: Raphael Holinshed; British chronicles; chronicle tradition

Article.  8723 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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