Monday, October 02, 2006

Richard's birthday...

Today is Richard III's birthday. Not that he's celebrating, I'm sure *g*, but it's important to note.

Over the weekend I've been rereading my ms which features Richard as a character. Part of me was hesitant to include him - what if I do him a disservice? But OTOH, I remember how Sharon Kay Penman's portrayal of Richard drew me in and started me on that particular road of study. NOT that I'm comparing my writing abilities to SKP's *g*, but I'd like to hope that if my ms does get pubbed one day that I might inspire someone to learn more about Richard.

Writing about real people from history does mean walking a very fine line, between expressing your personal opinions and staying within the bounds of historical possibility. Too often it's easy to take an extreme view of someone from the past and just run with it, however unless it's a work of fantasy, it's not very responsible. I prefer to work within the realms of actual history.

Richard is an especially difficult character to write about, he being one of the most extreme examples of what can happen when hyperbole is employed by writers (More and Shakespeare). It does tend to make those who believe in his innocence go to the other extreme and almost sanctify him. Tempting, but not conducive to giving any real historical perspective as readers will scoff as much at "Saint" Richard as they recoil from "Wicked" Richard.

As he is someone I have read a lot about, I felt fairly confident that I could create a balanced character. For that reason I only usually use real people in my mss if, as with Richard, I've done a good deal of research about them. Keeps me honest and forces me to really consider what I'm doing. In my first ms, I did at first employ the popular image of King John, yet after careful consideration and conversation with other historians, I realized that there really was more to this other wicked uncle than those who believe all Sellers and Yeats tell us about English history.

Now, back to the topic of the day - Happy Birthday, our Dickon!


Monday, August 28, 2006

More about Richard...

One of the reasons he fascinates me so much is the way he has spurred debate for so many centuries. Certainly Shakespeare was at least partially responsible, not only villifying him but making him a physical monster as well. Still, even had old Will never written about him, I think the disappearance of the princes and the various theories surround the event would have remained a popular source of conjecture among historians.

What do you think?


Friday, August 25, 2006

Richard III

Yes, I'm a Ricardian. Well, ok, not a fanatical one. I do believe he holds some responsibility for the death of the young princes, but more because he neglected to safeguard them properly than because he directly ordered their deaths.

August 22 marked 601 years since Richard's death at the battle of Bosworth Field or Radmore Plain, an occasion marked solemnly by Ricardians around the world.

Want to learn more about Richard? Why not visit the following sites:

The Richard III Society
Canadian Branch of R3 Society
American Branch of R3 Society

If learning in a more informal manner is your thing, why not find a copy of Sharon Kay Penman's The Sunne in Splendour - it's a great intro, though keep in mind, it is a work of fiction, so don't use it as a research source.

Purpose of this blog...

I LOVE history. I mean, really love history. Here I'm going to talk about different issues/people/events that fascinate me and give links and other reference sources.