Thursday, April 21, 2011

R is for Ricardian

Sir Thomas More by Hans Holbein the Younger
The Controversial Cobbe Portrait of Shakespeare

The men you see above, a secular hero and a religious saint, have filled your head with Tudor propaganda, aimed at legitimizing the Tudor line against the heirs of the House of York.  They were both beholden to Tudor monarchs when they produced their works.  An important part of the Tudor strategy was to portray the last Plantagenet king, Richard the III, as a physical and moral monster who murdered his nephews in their boyhood.  Somebody, in short, like this:

Richard III, portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen
Who wouldn't want to be delivered from medieval Hitler?  What?  You say you have some historical questions about the evidence for all this?  Why, we'd hate for you to be a supporter of a bad person we had to get rid of...accidents tend to happen to such people.  Here, watch this play or read this history, and I'm sure you'll be convinced.

Not to worry, my friends.  The eccentric faerie land of England has people that still care about the truth, once such causes are long given up as lost.  I give you the Richard III Society!  And don't worry, my American compatriots, there is an American branch for us as well.  All this too much for you?  Your head is swimming with the possibility that all you knew about the murdering, lecherous, deceitful hunchback could be wrong?  Why not start in the shallow end of the pool, with this wonderful fictional detective story that presents the main lines of the Richardian reconstruction of good King Richard.

Soon, you will join our ranks, my friend!  Long live the truth!  God save King Richard!

PS.  Just for good measure, here are two more Ricardian societies: 1 and 2.  Web searches may turn up branches or organizations in your part of the world not linked here.

1 comment:

  1. Good "R" post. I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.