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.
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