2/31 – Richard III

2/31 – Richard III

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Because it’s his 565th birthday and I’m marking exams about Shakespeare’s version.
Acrylic ink, Micron Pigma and white gel pen. And oh my God, my inking is as bad as I remember it. I’ll have to find some twist to that inking thing if I’m to survive this month.

My fascination with Richard III began when I read Sharon Penman’s “The Sunne in Splendour”. Being German, I had managed to grow up without ever hearing of Richard, and I read the novel (in which Richard was a conscientious, kind and thoughtful man) thinking this was accepted history.

As always after reading about a historical figure, I looked up the real history in a lexicon. (No Internet in 1996.) Boy, was I in for a shock. It was an older lexicon, which took over the Shakespeare version without any hint of doubt.

My curiosity was piqued. I went into the University library and took out everything that they had on the subject (which was a lot), and I didn’t stop until I knew the truth. Well, in this case, I was totally confused.

Richard III taught me a life-changing thing: Truth is a construct. Historical facts are always open to interpretation. The topic intrigued me so strongly that I chose it for my final thesis five year later, and I have been reading Shakespeare’s play with students for about a decade now, introducing them to the joys and pains of the historical digger.

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4 thoughts on “2/31 – Richard III

    • Of course! There is very little that I haven’t read. Right now, I’m almost through David Baldwin’s biography, which does a truly remarkable job of presenting the sources without being too revisionist nor too traditional, with quite a few thoughts and interpretations that I hadn’t heard yet (or not found in books).

  1. Ich habe mich gerade ordentlich an meinem Tee verschluckt, als ich die Erwähnung von “The Sunne in Splendour” gesehen habe. Das war auch mein Einstieg in die Rosenkriege, damals mit 15. Es ist ein großartiges Buch mit ein paar Längen, aber Richard kam mir darin fast schon “zu” nett vor. Dafür war ich fasziniert von den Lancastrians, insbesondere Somerset, und erinnere mich daran, dass mir beim Lesen der Schlacht von Tewkesbury tatsächlich die Tränen kamen. Die Bachelorarbeit über die Rosenkriege ist bereits in Arbeit. :D

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