12 Facts About Holinshed's Chronicles


Holinshed's Chronicles, known as Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland, is a collaborative work published in several volumes and two editions, the first edition in 1577, and the second in 1587.

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Holinshed's Chronicles have been a source of interest because of their extensive links to William Shakespeare's history plays, as well as King Lear, Macbeth and Cymbeline.

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Recent studies of the Holinshed's Chronicles have focused on an inter-disciplinary approach; numerous literary scholars have studied the traditional historiographical materials through a literary lens, with a focus on how contemporary men and women would have read historical texts.

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Holinshed's Chronicles would have been a primary source for many other literary writers of the Renaissance such as Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser and George Daniel.

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Holinshed's Chronicles wanted the work to be printed in English, and he wanted maps and illustrations in the book as well.

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Holinshed's Chronicles acquired many of John Leland's works, and with these he constructed chronologies and drew maps that were up-to-date.

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Holinshed's Chronicles narrative is characterised by a set of rhetorical figures and thematic paradigms that establish the national, royal, chivalrous and heroic ideals that define a state, its monarch, its leaders, and the political role of the common people.

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However, the Holinshed's Chronicles lacked any descriptions of Macbeth's character, so Shakespeare improvised on several points.

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Holinshed's Chronicles is spurred on by his wife, who is ambitious and desires the title of queen for herself.

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In Holinshed's Chronicles, Banquo is shown as a scheming character: he is an accomplice in Macbeth's murder of Duncan.

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Holinshed's Chronicles succeeds in killing Banquo, but his son, Fleance, flees to Wales.

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Primary difference in the Holinshed's Chronicles is the continuation of the feuding through the children of the sisters; the sons of Gonerilla and Regan rise up against and imprison Cordelia, leading to a period of civil war, and Cordelia commits suicide.

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