Richard II

Portrait of Richard II

The main sources for Richard II were of course Edward Hall, (1498-1547) from his “The Union of the Two Noble and Illustre Families of Lancaster and Yorke” (3rd. ed., 1550) and Raphael Holinshed’s (c. 1528-c. 1580) from his “The Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland” (2nd ed., 1587) as well as the anonymous “Thomas of Woodstock” (c. 1592), other sources are Jean Froissart, (c.1337-1410) from his “Chroniques” (1495?) from John Bourchier‘s English translation in 1523-5) and William Baldwin who wrote “The Mirror for Magistrates” (1559 ed.) and Samuel Daniel, (c.1562-1619) who wrote “The Civil Wars between the Two Houses of Lancaster and York” (1595-1609). It was registered in the Stationer’s Office in 29th August 1597 and probably written in 1595. Later editions were 1597 (Q1), 1598 (Q2), 1598 (Q3), 1608 (Q4), 1615 (Q5), and 1623 (F1). Charlton Ogburn locates this play as being written late 1595. The Shakespearean play itself was probably completed as early as 1595, although according to some experts it could even have been earlier in 1594. In any case this quarto was not officially published till 1597 when it was followed soon after by two more printed in 1598 with additional stage directions. The latter ones actually mention the author as “William Shakespeare” on the title page which suggests that the pseudonym was well known by then. Further quartos appeared in 1608 and 1614 with the addition of the deposition scene that presumably had been redacted from earlier manuscripts. Additional quartos seem to vary in detail on the abdication scene. These variations are probably the result of the fact that the play was commissioned to be staged on the eve of the failed Essex Rebellion (See Queen Elizabeth Ist) with the inclusion of the deposition scene for an additional fee.

The links to my publications “Shakespeare’s Qaballah”, a Companion to Shakespeare Studies and my anthology of poetry, “Pathenogenesis” are as follows:


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