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Richard III – From Villain to Hero

bosworth field

Yesterday, I came across this interesting poster from the Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Center on my Facebook feed.  As a true-blue Ricardian, I was impressed with the title ‘Richard III – from Villain to Hero’ which shows a sea change in how this much maligned king is suddenly being portrayed before the general public.  One of Bosworth Field’s experienced guides, John Whitehead, will be giving the lecture and opening it up to the floor for questions.  His talk will include the causes of the Wars of the Roses, Richard’s reputation and his reevaluation in the 20th and 21st Centuries, particularly in light of the discovery of his remains.

The talk will be on Wednesday evening, June 29, 2016 at 7:30pm in the Heritage Room.  Cost is 6 pounds.

It’s events like this that make a Yank in NYC burn with jealousy!

Of course, when dealing with Facebook – which brings so much light to this endlessly fascinating subject – there is a downside.  And that is the comments section.  While Ricardians and others expressed enthusiasm for the talk, the traditionalists chimed in, enraged at the revisionism occurring around Richard’s dukedom and reign:

I thought we had already been told the truth, until Ricardians decided that all the history that we know about Richard is Tudor propaganda because it doesn’t fit with their version of what Richard should be, well I am sorry, but I think all Ricardian history trying to tell us that Richard was a good man is just Ricardian  propaganda.  It works both ways.”

Talk about propaganda and lies, Richard was an expert.”

And let’s not forget the amusingly eccentric comments:

“Is Bosworth related to the Bosworths of Oklahoma?”

Apparently, the only subject in worldwide history that is closed to revisionism or reevaluation is King Richard the Third.  No matter how much is unearthed about his life, no matter what the Vatican archives turn up, no matter how brilliantly one historian tracks his timeline while another scholarly historian follows the last days of his life, he is, in the words of Broadway lyricist Yip Harburg, “a bounder, a rounder, a rotter and a lot’er dirty names.”  And that phrase must be written in stone and shoved under the nose of every person who dares question the shoddy treatment doled out to the last English king to die in battle.  Unfortunately for traditionalists and their running dogs, the attempt to stand in the way of younger and less hidebound historians brings to mind another fine lyricist who turned 75 this week.   His warning was prescient then and is now:  the times they are a’changin’.

Get used to it.

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7 thoughts on “Richard III – From Villain to Hero

  1. I’m reminded, not of a lyric from the musical “Man of La Mancha,” but of a soliloquy written by Dale Wasserman for Cervantes. I hope Mr. Wasserman will pardon me for changing three words.

    “‘Life as it is.’ I’ve lived for over 40 years and I’ve seen life as it is. Pain, misery, cruelty beyond belief. I’ve heard all the voices of God’s noblest creature; moans from bundles of filth in the street.

    “I’ve been a soldier and a slave. I’ve seen my comrades fall in battle, or die more slowly [on Tower Hill]. I’ve held them in my arms at the final moment. These were men who saw life as it is, yet they died despairing. No glory, no brave last words. Only their eyes, filled with confusion, questioning, “Why?” I do not think they were asking why they were dying, but why they had ever lived.

    “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams, this may be madness, to seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness. But maddest of all? To see life as it is, and not as it should be.”

    For a very long time, it has seemed to me that Ricardians are more like Cervantes, while traditionalists are more like Sansón Carrasco.

    Liked by 2 people

    • halfwit36 on said:

      I’m an admirer of Mr. Harburg. (Why did his parents give him a name like Yip, anyway?) Those lines sound sort of familiar, but I can’t quite place them. From whence?

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      • Yip Harburg was born Edgar Yipsel Harburg. So you can see where the ‘Yip’ comes in. This particular lyric is from the song “When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich” and is from “Finian’s Rainbow.” He also wrote the lyrics for “The Wizard of Oz” and was known for his odd rhymes, tongue-twisting phrases and alliteration – as well as social concerns of the time.

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  2. halfwit36 on said:

    I’ve just read David Horsepoop – er Horspool’s biography of Richard. It amazes me how anti-Ricardians can tie themselves up in such illogical and often counter-factual arguments, and not even be aware that they are doing it. Of course, pro-Ricardians sometimes do the same, but to a much smaller degree. We realize that we are counsel for the defense, and act accordingly – usually.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “until Ricardians decided that all the history that we know about Richard is Tudor propaganda because it doesn’t fit with their version”

    Well, according to Tudor version of history Richard poisoned his wife for example or was trying to get rid of her in other means. Do they want to say Ricardians are wrong about it? *Sarcasm*

    Like

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