Edmond Malone (4 October 1741 – 25 April 1812) was an Irish Shakespearean scholar and editor of the works of William Shakespeare..
Assured of an income after the death of his father in 1774, Malone was able to give up his law practice for at first political and then more congenial literary pursuits. He went to London, where he frequented literary and artistic circles. He regularly visited Samuel Johnson and was of great assistance to James Boswell 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, George Canning, Oliver Goldsmith, Lord Charlemont, and, at first, George Steevens, were among Malone's friends. Encouraged by Charlemont and Steevens, he devoted himself to the study of Shakespearean chronology, and the results of his "An Attempt to Ascertain the Order in Which the Plays Attributed to Shakspeare Were Written" (1778), which finally made it conceivable to try to patch together a biography of Shakespeare through the plays themselves, are still largely accepted. This was followed in 1780 by two supplementary volumes to Steevens's version of Dr Johnson's Shakespeare, partly consisting of observations on the history of the Elizabethan stage, 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..
Birth and early life.
Edmond Malone was born 4 October 1741 in Dublin to Edmond Malone Sr.—MP of the Irish House of Commons and judge of the Court of Common Pleas in Ireland—and Catherine Collier, the niece of Robert Knight, 1st Earl of Catherlough. He had two sisters, Henrietta and Catherine, and an older brother, Richard (later Lord Sunderlin). Edmond Malone Sr. was a successful lawyer and politician, educated at Oxford University and the Inner Temple in London, and called to the Bar in England in 1730, where he had a legal practice. But in 1740, a year before Edmond Jr. was born, his practice in England failed and he returned to Ireland. He took up residence with his wife on the family's country estate, Shinglas, in County Westmeath, and began a more successful legal practice there.
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