Edmond Malone (October 4, 1741 – April 25, 1812) was an Irish
Shakespearean scholar and editor of the
works of William
His first name is sometimes spelled
born in Dublin, the son of
Edmond Malone, MP of the Irish House of Commons and judge of the Court of Common Pleas in
Ireland. He was educated at Trinity College,
Dublin, and was called to the Irish bar in 1767.
of his father in 1774 assured him an income, and he went to
London, where he frequented literary and artistic
He frequently visited Samuel Johnson
and was of great assistance to
in revising and
proofreading his Life
, four of the later editions of which
he annotated. He was friendly with Sir Joshua Reynolds, and sat for a portrait now
in the National Portrait Gallery.
He was one of Reynolds' executors, and published a posthumous
collection of his works (1798) with a memoir. Horace Walpole
, Edmund Burke
, Oliver Goldsmith
, and, at first, George
, were among Malone's friends. Encouraged by Charlemont
and Steevens, he devoted himself to the study of Shakespearian
chronology, and the results of his Attempt to ascertain the
Order in which the Plays of Shakespeare were written
are still largely accepted. This was followed in 1780 by two
supplementary volumes to Steevens's version. of Dr Johnson's
, partly consisting of observations on the
history of the Elizabethan
and of the text of doubtful plays; and this again, in 1783, by an
appendix volume. His refusal to alter some of his notes to Isaac Reed
's edition of 1785, which disagreed
with Steevens's, resulted in a quarrel with the latter.
The next seven years were devoted to Malone's own edition of
Shakespeare in eleven volumes, of which his essays on the history
of the stage, his biography of Shakespeare, and his attack on the
genuineness of the three parts of Henry
, were especially valuable. His editorial work was
lauded by Burke, criticized by Walpole and damned by Joseph Ritson
. It certainly showed
indefatigable research and proper respect for the text of the
Malone published a denial of the claim to antiquity of the Rowley
poems produced by Thomas
, and in this (1782) as in his branding (1796) of the
, he was
among the first to guess and state the truth. His elaborate edition
of John Dryden
's works (1800), with a
memoir, was another monument to his industry, accuracy and
scholarly care. In 1801 the University of Dublin made him an LL.D.
At the time of his death, Malone was at work on a new octavo
edition of Shakespeare, and he left his material to James Boswell
the younger; the result was the edition of 1821 generally known as
the Third Variorum edition
in twenty-one volumes.
Lord Sunderlin (1738-1816), his elder brother
and executor, presented the larger part of Malone's splendid
collection of books, including dramatic varieties, to the Bodleian
Library, which afterwards bought many of his manuscript
notes and his literary correspondence. The British Museum also owns some of his letters and his annotated
copy of Johnson's Dictionary.
A memoir of Malone by James Boswell is included in the prologemena
to the edition of 1821. See also Sir J Prior's Life of Edmond
Chronology of Works
- 1778 - An attempt to ascertain the order in
which the plays attributed to Shakespeare were written. In Works of
Shakespeare (1778), Volume I.
- 1780 - Supplement to Johnson and Steevens’s
edition of Shakespeare’s Plays.
- 1787 - A Dissertation on the Three Parts of
Kind Henry VI.
- 1790 - Works of Shakespeare. Sixteen
- 1792 - A Letter to the Rev. Richard Farmer;
Relative to the Edition of Shakspeare, published in MDCCXC, and
some late criticisms on that work. (This is the date of the 2nd
- 1796 - An inquiry into the authenticity of
certain miscellaneous papers and legal instruments published Dec 24
MDCCXCV and attributed to Shakspeare, Queen Elizabeth and Henry,
Earl of Southampton.
- 1800 - The Critical and Miscellaneous Prose
Works of John Dryden, Now First Collected: With Notes and
Illustrations; an Account of the Life and Writings of the Author
Grounded on Original and Authentick Documents. Four volumes.
- 1801 - The Works of Sir Joshua Reynolds,
- 1809 - An account of the incidents from which
the title and part of the story of Shakspeare’s Tempest were
derived; and its true date ascertained.
- 1821 - Life of Shakespeare. In Works of
Shakespeare (1821), Volume II.
of Malone, in New
York, was named after him.