Did Shakespeare Use a Manuscript of Samuel Daniel’s Civil Wars to Write Richard II ?

  title={Did Shakespeare Use a Manuscript of Samuel Daniel’s Civil Wars to Write Richard II ?},
  author={David S. Weiss},
  journal={Huntington Library Quarterly},
  pages={235 - 267}
  • David S. Weiss
  • Published 14 November 2020
  • Art
  • Huntington Library Quarterly
abstract:Evidence indicates that Shakespeare may have used a scribal version of Samuel Daniel’s The Civil Wars, rather than the first printed edition, while writing Richard II. There are two extant manuscripts of portions of Daniel’s epic poem. A never-printed stanza in one manuscript employs imagery similar to Shakespeare’s to describe the same invented episode. To investigate possible influence, this essay assesses the dates of the manuscripts, analyzes variants from the printed edition… 

Figures from this paper


In my count, substantive variants (nonaccidentals) in each line count as one variant, as do additions of glosses. For a comprehensive analysis of all variants that I identify, see David S. Weiss
  • 2017
Daniel got from him . . . access to a well-stocked library (in this case, at Mountjoy's home, Wanstead House)
  • 2012
at 57, for a reproduction of a letter in what Pitcher calls Daniel's "distinctive and attractive Italian court hand
  • 153; Civil Wars
  • 1984
For analysis of Daniel and others as poets with "laureate" aspirations, see Richard Helgerson
  • Self-Crowned Laureates: Spenser, Jonson, Milton, and the Literary System
  • 1983
See also descriptions of autograph manuscripts, scribal manuscripts, and dispersed papers in "Samuel Daniel
  • Communities in Early Modern England: Networks, Place, Rhetoric
  • 1981