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Holinshed’s Chronicles online!

The following message is reprinted with permission from Ian W. Archer, General Editor of the Royal Historical Society Bibliography on British History and Literary Director of the Royal Historical Society.

Dear Colleagues,

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 version.

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:

http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/holinshed/

But you can get there from the project website:

http://www.cems.ox.ac.uk/holinshed/

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.

http://www.cems.ox.ac.uk/holinshed/chronicles.shtml

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:

http://blogs.oucs.ox.ac.uk/jamesc/2009/09/04/tei-comparator/

The parallel text edition is one of several outputs envisaged by the Oxford Holinshed Project. We have commissioned 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
oxfordhistorian@gmail.com
Keble College, Oxford, OX1 3PG
Acting Warden, Keble College
Fellow and Tutor in Modern History
General Editor, Royal Historical Society Bibliography on British History
Literary Director, Royal Historical Society

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