Tag Archives: William Shakespeare

The story of Richard III proves history is written by the victors

Richard III reconstruction

MOST OF WHAT is today recorded of Richard of Gloucester was first compiled under the dominance of the House of Tudor, from Thomas More’s 1520 History of King Richard III, in the time of Henry VIII, to Raphael Holinshed’s ambitious but abandoned Elizabethan-era Chronicles, published in two editions of 1577 and 1587. From the later of these two publications, originally conceived as a history from the Flood onwards, Shakespeare derived a good amount of material for his historical and tragic plays. His Tragedy of King Richard the Third is generally placed in the former category, but sometimes also the second, an ambiguity which fittingly mirrors Richard III’s legend-rich niche in English history.

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The Virtue of Watching Your Language

THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE is not unique in having a fluid, ever-changing character. Best described as a Low German dialect imbricated by Latin and Greek, via eleventh century Frenchified Norseman, English has changed a good amount since Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the following lines, somewhere about the year 1390:

Now, sire, and eft, sire, so bifel the cas,
That on a day this hende Nicholas
Fil with this yonge wyf to rage and pleye,
Whil that her housbonde was at Oseneye,
As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte;
And prively he caughte hire by the queynte,
And seyde, “Ywis, but if ich have my wille,
For deerne love of thee, lemman, I spille.”

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