The True Tragedy as a Yorkist play? Problems in textual transmission

Stacey, R. (2021) The True Tragedy as a Yorkist play? Problems in textual transmission. In: Smith, E. (ed.) Shakespeare Survey 74: Shakespeare and Education. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, pp. 271-282. ISBN 9781009036795 (doi: 10.1017/9781009036795.019)

Full text not currently available from Enlighten.


There are many linguistic differences between the two variant texts (octavo and folio) of Henry VI Part 3. One feature which has been largely overlooked by critics is evidence of a fairly consistent pro-Yorkist bias in the octavo of 1595. Richard of York’s assertion that the throne is ‘mine inheritance as the kingdome is’ (sig. A3v) is modified in the folio to ‘as the earldom was’ (1.1.78), placing his claim as the next step on the ladder of ambition rather than the assertion of a de jure fact. On the field of Towton, in which Edward leads the Yorkists to their greatest triumph, Warwick declares that he will soon ‘be crowned Englands lawfull king’ (sig. C5 r); the folio line is ‘England’s royal king’ (2.6.88), ambiguously suggesting that Edward will be royalized in an act of realpolitik. When an oath is sworn to effect a return to the Yorkist bloodline after Henry’s death, the octavo text includes four lines not in the folio, in which Henry concedes that Richard is king ‘by right and equitie’ (sig.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stacey, Dr Richard
Authors: Stacey, R.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Published Online:28 August 2021

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record