Description

    The Second and Best Edition
    of a Major Shakespearean Sourcebook

    [Shakespeare Sourcebook]. Raphael Holinshed. The First and second volumes of Chronicles, comprising 1 The Description of England, 2 The Description and Historie of Ireland, 3 The Description and Historie of Scotland... [London: at the expenses of John Harrison, George Bishop, Rafe Newberie, Henrie Denham, and Thomas Woodcocke, 1587]. [Together with:] Raphael Holinshed. The Third volume of Chronicles, beginning at duke William the Norman, commonlie called the Conqueror; and descending by degrees of yeares to all the kings and queenes of England in their orderlie successions. [London: at the expenses of John Harrison, George Bishop, Rafe Newberie, Henrie Denham, and Thomas Woodcocke, 1587]. Second edition and the true Shakespeare edition. Three volumes bound in two books. Folio. Approximately 14.75 x 9.25 inches. [viii], 250, [iv], 202, [2, blank]; [8], 9-61, [1, blank], [xii], 183, [1, blank], [1-2], 3-421, 424-430, 436-438, 431-433, 439-464, [54]; [viii], 102, 110, 104-109, 103, 111-126, 129, 128, 129-133, 132, 135-186, 189, 188, 189-193, 192, 195-210, 221, 212-869, 874, 781 , 872-1421, 1490-1491, 1536-1555, 1574-1592, [58] pages. Collates complete. Seven title pages within engraved woodcut borders (McKerrow and Ferguson 147a,148, 122, and 138), numerous ornamental intials, head- and tailpieces. Black letter, double column. Indices to Volumes I and II are bound at end of Volume II. The History of Scotland is bound after the two parts of the History of Ireland in Volume II, as in Lowndes. Eighteenth-century calf with single gilt fillet borders, expertly rebacked with original spines laid down, spines with gilt decorated bands and gilt lettering, gilt fillet board edges, marbled endpapers. Armorial bookplate. The two general title-pages are sized and mounted (with all of the decorative matter, though none of the text, excised). Lacks front blank of first volume. Dedication leaf in second volume expertly remargined with no loss. Corners expertly restored to first ten leaves and Qqq5 of second volume. Some worming to upper blank margin of last two signatures of first volume and some pinhead worming to beginning of second volume. A very few stains and paper flaws but, overall, an exceptionally clean copy of this important work.

    Holinshed's Chronicles was the source for many of Shakespeare's plays, including Richard II, Richard III, the Henry Plays, Macbeth and Cymbeline. The first edition of the Chronicles was originally thought to be Shakespeare's source, but the work of Boswell-Stone and Anders established this second edition as the true Shakespeare edition. The Chronicles were always politically sensitive. This 'newlie augmented' edition contained several passages, which were brought to the attention of Queen Elizabeth I. These were mainly concerned with Anglo-Scottish affairs, Mary Queen of Scots, the Babington conspiracy and Leicester's campaign in the Low Countries. Elizabeth ordered the Archbishop of Canterbury to recall the book, which resulted in the numerous cancels to be found in volumes II and III. In this copy, two of the offending sections are cancelled (pages. 1419-1538 and 1551-1574 of Volume III) and the other four sections are intact. In the eighteenth century there were three reprints of the original cancelled leaves. Many copies in later bindings have these leaves inserted. Lowndes, p. 1086; STC 13569.


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    April, 2014
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