Thursday, 14 August 2008


This tale arose out of me reading The Son of Prophecy: Henry Tudor's Road to Bosworth by David Rees. My copy is a 1985 first edition, which I bought over twenty years ago but didn't read until this summer. The account of Buckingham coming from nowhere to be king-maker and then suddenly changing sides made no sense to me. It provoked me into some historical reconstruction of my own.

Wikipedia aspires to a neutral point of view, and its contributors have done a good job of documenting the period. The Wars of the Roses page is a good starting point; from there you can easily find links to all the historical figures. You won't find Lady Matilda Rose, of course, and if you are struggling to locate Lord Ralph Harris of Walsingham you will find him on this page.

The disadvantage of this neutral point of view is that it is stuck with some unsatisfactory non-explanations. For example, a Lancastrian widow becoming a Yorkist queen is merely "a source of irony". Or, Elizabeth Woodville's behaviour has been "a source of frustration for historians".

Hence the need to consult other points of view.

A traditional anti-Richard III history is Winston Churchill's History of the English-Speaking Peoples. The 15th century is covered in the last section of volume one. Churchill gives lots of details and tells a good story.

For pro-Richard III material, there is the Richard III Society and its American sister site.

My tale is heavily indebted to Gordon Smith's paper on Lambert Simnel and the King from Dublin.

I also appreciated Susan Higginbotham's sturdy defence of Elizabeth Woodville and her unromantic insights.

The format of a mash-up of history with contemporary political resonance, romance and humour is undoubtedly inspired by the BBC's latest version of Robin Hood.

The concluding quotation is the chorus of the song Circumstances from the 1978 Rush album Hemispheres.

Last, but by no means least, I am sure I would never view the world the way I do now but for The Antagonist:

To confront ideas that radically alter our perception of the world is one of life's most unsettling yet liberating experiences.

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オテモヤン said...
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