The Malone Society was founded on the initiative of A.W. Pollard, who recognised that ‘every generation will need to make its own critical editions to suit its own critical taste, but that work of permanent utility can be done by placing in the hands of students at large such reproductions of the original textual authorities as may make constant and continuous reference to those originals themselves unnecessary’.
The name of the Society was selected in commemoration of Edmond Malone (1741-1812), an early Shakespearean whose portrait appears on this page. Malone seemed an appropriate namesake since his scholarly labour included collecting and making available a wide range of material relating to the study of Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.
The Society came into being at an inaugural meeting held at University College London on 30 July 1906, a meeting which was attended by some of the most eminent Renaissance scholars of the time. F.S. Boas, E.K. Chambers, T. Gregory Foster, W.W. Greg, R.B. McKerrow, and A.W. Pollard agreed that there existed a need for the reliable transmission of early modern playtexts for use by scholars and students. It was therefore resolved, ‘that a Society, to be called The Malone Society, be formed for the purpose of producing accurate copies of the best editions of early plays’. At that meeting, the gathered scholars agreed that the first four publications would be completed and made available to existing members by the end of the year – 1907 in fact saw the publication of six editions, including Peele’s Battle of Alcazar, Greene’s History of Orlando Furioso and the anonymous History of King Leir. Since then the Malone Society has endeavoured to publish every year an edited volume which is circulated free of charge to members. As a mark of our commitment to accuracy, we will shortly offer a list of errata and addenda for earlier publications.
Within a year of its establishment, membership of The Malone Society had risen to 150, and for years was limited to 250. When membership was eventually no longer restricted in number, potential members still required formal nomination. Times have changed, however, since those early days. Today, increasing numbers of people are interested in the study of English medieval and Renaissance drama, either out of personal or professional interest. Membership of the Society is now international, and local chapters have been established in the United States, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Continental Europe and India. Some distinguished members of the Society have now awarded life membership; please click here for a list of their names.
Please click here to read our Constitution.