Subject: Holinshed’s Chronicles
From: Ian Archer
I am pleased to announce a new freely available resource for all
those interested in historical writing (and much else besides) in
the early modern period: Holinshed’s Chronicles of England,
Scotland and Wales.
An Oxford based team comprising myself (History, Oxford), Dr
Felicity Heal (History, Oxford), Dr Paulina Kewes (English,
Oxford), and Dr Henry Summerson (The Oxford Holinshed Project
Research Assistant) has been working on a parallel text
electronic edition of Holinshed’s Chronicles. The Chronicles are
best known as the source text for many of Shakespeare’s plays,
but they were a gold mine for other dramatists and poets, and for
lawyers, politicians, and general readers. We’ve been aware for a
long time of the existence of differences between the two
editions of 1577 and 1587, but systematic analysis has proved
elusive because of the sheer volume of the texts. What we offer
is a means of reading the two editions alongside each other, a
privilege hitherto only available to those in particularly well
endowed libraries. Users with access to EEBO will be able to move
from our edition to the EBO hosted facsimiles of the pages.
The edition would have been impossible without the co-operation
of EEBO-TCP who undertook the keying of the 1577 edition (in
addition to the 1587 edition already on their site), as well as
granting us permission to make use of the two texts in our
We have also benefited from the assistance of the Research
Services Team at Oxford University Computing Services who
developed the TEI Comparator Tool, enabling comparison between
the two texts. We think that this tool may be of use to other
projects. See the link to James Cummings’ blog below.
The resource is freely available, and has been funded by Oxford
University’s Fell Fund.
To access the texts go to:
But you can get there from the project website:
I send you there simply to alert you to the amount of additional
content, including a comprehensive analysis of the sources behind
the Chronicles undertaken by Henry Summerson.
There is also a comprehensive Holinshed bibliography, and a
number of working papers.
To read James Cummings’ blog and to find out more about the TEI
Comparator Tool, go to:
The parallel text edition is one of several outputs envisaged by
the Oxford Holinshed Project. We have commsioned forty essays
which will be published by OUP as The Oxford Handbook to
Holinshed’s Chronicles in 2011. We also hope to receive funding
to enhance the electronic edition with scholarly annotation.
All best wishes,
Ian W. Archer
Ian W. Archer, Keble College, Oxford, OX1 3PG
Acting Warden, Keble College
Fellow and Tutor in Modern History
General Editor, Royal Historical Society Bibliography on British
Literary Director, Royal Historical Society
Royal Historical Society:
The Holinshed Project:
Keble Past and Present: