Matthew Lewis on YouTube: 1) More

I’ve decided to have a little go at some YouTube stuff. My first foray is a breakdown of my Top 10 problems with Sir Thomas More’s story of Richard III. It’s so full of problems that I’m left dismayed that academic historians I speak to still insist on relying on More’s evidence even today. There is a lingering insistence that More was a contemporary source, or at least had the chance to speak to witnesses so that he’s as good as primary material.

In truth, More was 7 during the events of 1485 and wrote 30 years later. He can’t possibly have remembered the complex political events of 1483 with clarity, or have been witness to any of the moments he describes in excruciating detail. Anyone he spoke to in Henry VIII’s England had reason to distance themselves from Richard III and his reign. Richard was already the monster from which the Tudors had rescued England. Who would have been brave enough to offer a different narrative?

I also think More, like Shakespeare, was never writing history in the way that we would recognise it – as a literal, factual retelling of events. He wrote allegory, a humanist exercise in moral tales veiled behind a convenient trope. More wrote about murderous tyranny and the dangers it posed, both to the kingdom and the king who indulged in it. In the years just after Henry VIII’s accession, when he had executed Empson and Dudley for following his father’s instructions, who might More have been really writing about? He could hardly name the king and risk his wrath. Richard offered a convenient front for what More had to say. Like Shakespeare, it has been wrongly accepted as the truth.

What else is wrong with More’s Richard III? Plenty. My top 10 problems are outlined here.

17 comments

  1. Keep going Matt. I am loving your videos and insight. I also think most Medieval and Early Modern writers were using allegory, just as I think most religious books were meant to be. It’s a brilliant tool and people in those eras would likely have understood them to be allegorical. 🐾

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Colleen, sorry to get back to you so late, but I did finally get to the you tube conference material you suggested, led by Mark Lansdale, he’s awesome! “Debate is all!” How true, I’m going to make a t-shirt with that (and Richard’s sanglier next to it!) I had to watch it a could times (numerous interruptions) but he’s just adorable, what a lovely sense of humor and I thought he presented many valid points – I had found the printed form of that conference paper earlier, and it is quite dry in comparison to his delivery! I would sit in his class anytime.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hello Amma,
        Dr. Lansdale’s presentation is awesome. He looks and acts exactly like my former choir instructor. So much so that there must be a relation somewhere 😀 I have looked at some of his other writings, mostly about human and AI interaction since it is fascinating to see how we direct AI while at the same time it directs us. On a personal level since I have Type 1 Diabetes I rely on devices that “talk” to one another to regulate my glucose closely. Then there’s the fact that as a librarian it is imperative to understand how people interact with library materials beyond checking in/out materials in order to create better public access computers and other databases with search terms and methodologies.

        Anyway have a great day.

        Like

  2. Matt,

    Here’s another example for you along the lines of the Empson-H8 parallel, I recently re-read Peter Hancock’s (2009) Richard III and the Murder in the Tower which is actually about Hastings and Catesby. I gave it too quick a read the first time, or, perhaps, this time something popped up but it struck me that Thomas More, who celebrated the death of Henry 7 (and in 1509 no less), should be best understood as ‘double speak’ – whatever he MAY, in time think of H8, in those early years of 1509-1513 when More is allegedly ruminating on a ‘history’ of R3, the most vile example of despotism would have been H7, the king who had half the country informing on the other half, the king who essentially created the first ‘police state’ in modern Europe.

    Just thinking of More and his loathing for H7, a king who would interrogate prisoners himself, paid a fortune on informers and spies, all I could think of when reading Hancock’s many references to More as per Hastings and Catesby is I am not actually reading about either of them at all. Somehow I suspect More was using R3 and Hastings as a ‘front’ for H7’s execution of William Stanley, the man who most definitely made him king. And while H7 did make Stanley wealthy enough (one would think) he didn’t make him that trusted adherent that was Buckingham (obvious reasons) but more importantly H7 didn’t even have the sense to make him his Lord Howard. Either too churlish or avaricious but H7 made sure complete power stayed with him and mommy.

    I’ve even wondered if the whole R3-Tyrell (and his alleged murder of the Princes) isn’t more More double speak for H7-Tyrell’s execution and proffered ‘confession’ (which no one has seen, and if derived from torture is worthless anyway, under torture Tyrell could well have admitted to being the Queen of Sheba for anyone knows, much as Warbeck’s ‘confession’ is ‘worth’).

    So, Matt, I suspect you’re on the right track, under More’s alleged ‘history’ of R3 there may well be the real history of Henry VII … which is why he never finished it. Foolishly in 1513-5 he may have thought all that regal horror was in the past, that he was safe, that H8 was ‘different’ HAH!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Amma,

      Hancock certainly gives one something to think about because he places information that is missing in the records or seem to be arbitrary facts within the context of locality and familial relations. I think many readers might pass him over because his main thesis is couched within smaller ones. However once one actually picks up the thesis the other theories about what was occurring fall in place and his work makes sense. If one can visualize his chapters in layers (depth and width) rather than lineal order, it becomes even easier. 🐾

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Colleen, so of course I had just sent you a reply and missed yours about Hancock! I definitely did not credit Catesby with all the interconnected reasons to betray Hastings the first time around, I only started reading Ashdown-Hill’s work on Lady Eleanor after Hancock (and others). Funny, after J A-H so much makes sense now. Hancock’s strongest sections, I think, was in arguing that Catesby was too well rewarded for just relaying a message (ie. Hastings won’t support your Protectorship); and, as a lawyer, likely wrote the language of Titulus Regius as well as being the unlikely choice of Speaker, (I think it was his perceived lack of experience in Parliament?)

        Reading the second time around all sorts of things made connections: Ralph Hastings (this was HUGE, especially after what I’ve learned from Matt Lewis), the comment by Hancock that E4 had tried this pre-contract stuff “on at least four (prior) occasions” (to Elizabeth Woodville) (p.42) – well, knock me over! Never read this anywhere before! Intriguingly, that Stillington may not, probably was not the source of the Lady Eleanor information, well, the mind reels.

        You are quite right, Hancock delved into a very complex series of inter-related sets of information, families related through blood and marriage, interests further tied through inheritance, inter-generational, and not linear as you noted. Not meant for a quick read lol!

        Here’s a last thought I will run by you before we officially start the weekend, Hancock, like everyone else, wonders why Lady Eleanor did not press her claim. I haven’t had a good answer to this until recently, again, I will likely change my mind by Monday. However, if Jacquetta, Countess Rivers, (Elizabeth Woodville’s mother), was savvy enough to have various multiple attendants (witnesses) about for her daughter’s secret wedding then she well knew the existence of earlier contracted marriage(s) and was leaving nothing to chance. Would it have been too coarse to Lady Rivers to ‘request’ proof from E4 that there would be no problems from his other reputed attachments?

        All Edward would need to do is send along a little message to Lady Eleanor, probably via Hastings, who else would he trust (?), and put the squeeze on her, not for her sake, but how easily could Edward have ruined the sister, Elizabeth, duchess of Norfolk – in 1464 they had not yet produced a living heir but her husband was in fact the 4th duke of Norfolk (you might recall it is their sole child, Anne Mowbray who will marry the little duke of York, Richard of Shrewsbury in 1478, and E4 arranged for his son to gain the entirety of her inheritance, regardless of issue. He had every intention of getting that Norfolk inheritance, and if his son’s line failed it became Crown lands. I can see Lady Eleanor buckling easily to preserve her sister’s position and husbands’ patrimony.

        sorry this went on so long! have a lovely weekend!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hello again Amma,

        I am of the opinion that at the very least Elizabeth knew of Eleanor and both she and Jacquetta were savvy enough with politics to manipulate Edward and/or Eleanor into silence. I also agree that Eleanor and the family may have tried to protect her sister.

        I am also not certain Edward ever had any intention of acknowledging any marriage, even with Elizabeth. She just happened to be smart enough to have at least one witness besides the priest. That said Elizabeth served a political purpose (as Eleanor had the potential to do) by being from a Lancastrian supporting family that was making waves. While no doubt Edward was attracted to both women I do not agree that “love” was the reason Elizabeth won out.

        To me so far in my research, Elizabeth’s family and clout appear to be much stronger than the Talbot-Butler families at that moment in time. Granted the Talbot family (my husband is actually descended from the 3rd E. of Shrewsbury) had been important but I think (this is just a gut instinct) Edward thought that they were on the downward turn on the Wheel of Fortune whereas the Woodville family was on the upward turn. Indeed I also think Edward did want to get under Warwick’s skin for whatever reason (even if it were as shallow as he didn’t want to be told what to do as DJones postulates).

        I think it is also possible that Eleanor herself questioned the validity of the precontract in the face of the fact that Edward announced his marriage even though it too was done secretly. Since apparently he was gallivanting around. I think as Hancock suggests that her family made the choice to keep silent on the matter and that Stillington also questioned the validity of it at the time as well as once Richard found out. Hancock’s theory makes perfect sense if Catesby had written documentation of a familial and legal meeting with the Talbot family and Catesby Sr.

        As of yet I have not read John Ashdown-Hill’s work but will likely do so.

        I am also of the opinion that Edward’s land grabs i.e. the Mowbray lands are what lie at the root of the York downfall rather than the princes’ disappearance. Personally I don’t agree with many historians that all of London or the outside regions actually cared to the extent that any outside of the Woodville family and supporters would have betrayed Richard. I am not saying they would have been happy but I don’t buy the overwhelming reaction. Even in modern times we might feel devastation about a child that we know, but not necessarily one we know about peripherally. I think Richard was not moving fast enough for some but was attempting to correct wrongs done by Edward (i.e. the Mowbray lands) and those that were corrected made people who had gained under Edward angry. The princes were in my view an afterthought and brought to the fore with later writers, Charles II, and Victorian romanticism.

        Perhaps someday I will have more access to really research different angles of the debates around the Wars using the primary sources 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Colleen, along the lines of Dr. Lansdale, (and you may have been the one who suggested this speaker to me), have you heard Dr. Tobias Capwell? He has a youtube conference paper on Richard’s scoliosis in respect to his ability to function as a mounted knight (Capwell is arms and armor curator at the Wallace Collection the lucky duck). If you haven’t seen it (the one I saw was from 2004) it’s worth a look, although the audio was wretched and he is often off the track (being more about the armor than the man inside that armor, which is strange considering that man had a twitchy curve in his spine mid back!) One can’t expect someone as engaging as Dr. Landsdale was in his presentation every time, can we!?

    (BTW, I am fascinated by your device that can assist with the glucose readings – medical advances blow me away. I think it was in Dr. Capwell’s talk that he mentioned that (the adolescent) Richard’s scoliosis would never have progressed to such a degree today, it would have been corrected, presumably surgically? I also recall something about his ‘harness’ – ie. the armor – was probably a benefit not a hindrance to his condition, if so, it explains quite a lot!)

    my warmest regards !

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Amma,

    Yes, I have watched a few different lectures or documentaries with Dr. Capwell. A young man named Dominc Smee who has scoliosis to the nearly the same degree helped Dr. Capwell show how Richard would likely have functioned.

    To me it is fascinating since as a Little Person (I am a proprtionat Dwarf though I reached the grand height of 4ft10in) I too have issues with my spine. I was born with a spinal column that is too narrow. I have had major surgical correction in my C-spine but expect to have more in my thoracic and lumbar areas. With the extent of pain I have it is astounding to me at how Richard’s will power had to have played a role in his views on life.

    Dr. Lansdale’s conclusions make so much sense to me. I too have treated all medical and life issues that I have had as “one more thing” and push through. Thus I have a lot of empathy for Richard.

    I use a combination hybrid closed loop insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor. The models are the Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitor and Tandem X2 Insulin pump. I also have “hacked” into my smart watch with the use of Nightwatch open source software, this is so I can see what my glucose is without having to pull out my pump to view the screen. My husband is also able to see my glucose on his phone 🐾

    Have a great day

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Colleen, not sure how much this would help or even apply but in 2015 I was rear-ended by a Mack truck (twice, if they aren’t carrying a full load their braking system doesn’t work automatically, go figure). The end result was concussion, neck and back problems, bruising etc.

      The concussion is something I am still dealing with, but the migraine bursts can be managed, the back and neck was a bit more of a challenge, something that worked for pain, especially, and for the way the muscles just turned to concrete in response to the collision, was acupuncture! My neurologist had a specialist in his practice who does PENS (percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) or electroacupuncture.

      I had an initial 3 weeks (3x a week) and my back responded so well that we followed up with another 3 months – it DID help that she was also able to help with some kind of medication for the concussion, being a sufferer of these debilitating headaches herself. She uses Topamax, and as I take virtually nothing, aside from my stuff for a wonky thyroid, we started very low. But my headaches were such that just moving my neck made me feel all at sea, touching my hair sent shivers of ice through my scalp and down my back, I couldn’t stay in lit rooms or around sound of any level, I felt like I was living in a aquarium, and that was weeks after the collision.

      She had a system for the acupuncture, low lights, instrumentalist ‘New Agey’ music by Deuter (I actually found his material quite good and varied, I believe he plays all the instruments himself), then the 40 needles, tiny tiny tiny needles, maybe there weren’t 40 I don’t know, all I know is the electric current is something they can control and it worked! I did need a cortisone shot to the neck, in between vertebra, I don’t remember where, I put it off for months being a huge coward. Between the Topamax, the PENS and that shot I was almost back where I had started. I will never regain, according to the neurologists, the ‘short term memory’ capability – I have to make lists for my lists, but my long term memory was never compromised.

      If you think PENS might help with your back ask, I found it to be a life saver, without it I don’t think the muscles were ever going to unclench, ever lose that cemented lock on my whole back. Just a thought.

      And now its evening!

      Like

      1. Hi Amma,

        To me this all makes Richard seem superhuman 🐾

        My situation being congenital is a bit different from yours but I am glad that has worked for you 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Good Afternoon Colleen!

    Reading your comments (second time around, you have so many threads to examine carefully 🙂 it reminded me of one of my favorite quotes, “it is terrifying to think how much is needed to determine the truth of even the most unimportant fact!” That is from Stendhal. I thought of it when you were musing how helpful it would be to have access to primary sources, hmmm. I fear we may find many of the ‘unimportant facts’ surrounding Richard but with SO many documents willfully destroyed – probably by Robert Morton, H7’s Master of Rolls (and John Morton’s nephew) – I find myself disheartened, Henry rigged ‘history’ to his advantage, if you will, and that annoys the heck out of me.

    But then, your comments about non-linear approaches revitalizes my hopes that Henry’s destruction of documents were only one kind of information and he could never have foreseen what modern technology, and the persistence that ‘the debate is all,’ would, in time, undo his machinations.

    One of the things I most like about Matt Lewis’ work is that he recognizes Richard lived in a truly filthy, brutal age – but in doing so doesn’t strip away his humanity, Richard is victimized as well, and we have discussed, I think by someone I don’t think has been discussed before in biographies or articles – his own brother E4.

    Had Lewis not brought up the sheer gall E4 had to expect/demand that Richard should be the one to murder H6, an anointed king, well … it’s just something 6 months ago I would have said, ‘typical propaganda!’ Now, it makes complete sense to me, of course E4 required that from little brother, Edward was the one with the largesse, Richard the titled sibling who was closer to a beggar ‘duke,’ who was granted lands and estates one month and saw them taken away 3 months later when E4 reconciled with some recalcitrant noble. What little we have about Richard’s early years pretty much falls into “may I borrow, will you lend me?” type letters to hopeful friends!

    And so, in a similar vein, you have me re-thinking the pre-contract and virtually everything else about E4! I had rather hoped that there was something to that marriage with Elizabeth beyond attraction but it makes more sense that its entire calculated process smacks of this was E4’s usual method. I agree with you that EW and her mother could and would have left no prior contracts/relationships unheeded, her mother was a veteran of both Continental and English courts and likely knew Eleanor and the Talbot family quite well. She was also heavily fined for marrying secretly (to her late husband’s servant Richard Woodville) and obviously well below her station; she knew a thing or two about secrecy.

    John A-H’s quite comprehensive work on Eleanor Talbot and her family tends to go in the direction that she was NOT willing, and while not outright rape E4 more or less harried and nagged and just wore her down until she gave in – however, A-H does contend it was a real legal marriage in that her will is quite interesting. I believe she refers to herself with a living husband – which if you consider Butler her husband he most definitely was not in 1468; but E4 was.

    As to why E4 DID bother to own up to EW and not ET you may be right there too, the Talbots were a far more illustrious family (Mowbray inheritance!) – but – if it came down to just thwarting Warwick it was also poking LXI in the eye as well, as Bona of Savoy was kin to his wife – this would have been an interesting marriage for E4, it would have given him far better good relations with LXI (the consummate politician and strategist of the 15thc, John Morton and Margaret Beaufort are just sanctimonious parvenus by comparison) – and it would have gotten him connections on the Continent, with options to marry off his two brothers with available political allies. (That too would have been smart, he gains allies, unloads expensive brothers, maybe bypasses the whole fiasco with George down the road…)

    In 1464 he can do it too, let EW squawk, he has a few others before her to negate any claims she can make – unfortunately Warwick either did not know about EW or chose to believe it was just another trick play his protege had and proceeded with his plans with LXI .

    But it may not have been enough just to thwart Warwick – there is another element to the EW vs ET situation. EW had proven that she could in fact have children, something ET had not provided Butler, nor as far as we know, to E, and while Bona ‘might’ be capable of having children (she would have two sons and two daughters before her husband, Galeazzo Maria Sforza was murdered) she was also 7 years younger than E4, about 15 or so to his 22, not unusual at all for the time but nonetheless dicey compared to a woman you know has produced living children. (An interesting side note, Isabella of Castile, future mother of Katherine of Aragon, was considered for … both E4 and then Richard! Imagine if that marriage had happened, she was about the same age as Richard, the mind boggles).

    John A-H gives no credence to ET having children with E4, I’m not ready to go there yet, Thomas More’s little ditty about his merriest, wiliest and holiest harlots can’t be entirely the ravings of a sexually deviant lawyer (or his mentor, the decrepit cleric John Morton) – even if it was only rumour, salacious gossip, More may have heard if from more than one source and while John A-H goes to great pains to illustrate ET’s very real, genuine, piety and charitable acts (she was not a late-to-the-game like Margaret Beaufort) it is not mutually exclusive to be the king’s unwilling mistress and then in church! And there are more than a few sources that list her dying in 1468 from complications of childbirth (at about 31; I’m surprised Alison Weir is one of these sources, 1989).

    Anyway, John A-H sees ET as a complete victim, and perhaps she was, along with her whole family, and your point about what E4 did with/to property rights IS very truly an abomination that caused what is called an ‘unforced error’ in American baseball (and a veryyyyy bad thing lol) – too much, as you said, has been made by historians (none of whom were there) about the ‘missing princes’ when the people who lived in 1483 were far more likely to be outraged by their long held rights of inheritance and other property rights were just shredded by E4 (and later by H7; that Henry had most of the nobility paying him to prove their ‘loyalty’ and good behaviour so they could complain – privately – all they wanted as he and his mother absconded with whatever they wanted – think Anne de Beauchamp for just one, or Katherine Hastings complaining that Richard3 treated her better than Henry was!)

    I recently picked up Michael Hicks’ latest biography of Richard (Self-Made King) but I haven’t the strength yet to tackle it, he is on my cr*p list due to how he misrepresents so many easily corrected assertions about both Richard’s intentions and his actions – the whole debacle with the Countess of Oxford is a case in point; another perfect example of E4 manipulating a situation to suit the ends he wants without looking like the heavy – in American culture its called ‘good cop/ bad cop’ – E4 gets to play good cop, offering Oxford and his sweet innocent mother chance after chance to reconcile, finally bury that Lancastrian hatchet (and not in his head), while little brother – all of 19 or 20 – gets to play bad cop, dropping by the nunnery to tell her he now has been given all of HER estates etc. Meanwhile, its E4 who is summoning her to answer to him – for the whole of Easter, on pain of very significant fines if she doesn’t – but who does a faux scholar like Hicks see as the brute harassing some widow? Yea, I may need to start drinking before I read Hicks’ latest. And I don’t drink!

    Why do my replies run so long? I apologize! Bonne apres-midi!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hello again Amma,

    I think that our access to historical events will change greatly even when documents appear to be destroyed. After all, Mancini’s work was discovered in the 1930’s and a copy of the Titulus Regius emerged long after H-7. Even after the fall of Rome we found classical work that lead to the (not so pretty) Italian Renaissance. Although “renaissances” all over were occurring long before that.

    Who knows what else may be found as historians move away from telling the same story to look for why that story may not be as accurate as they believed. Some information will be found so deep in the deep recesses of the archives that people forgot about. This especially as we move deeper into them for the purpose of digitization and restoring items. Contrary to popular belief, or as Jocasta Nu (Star Wars-Attack of the Clones) states “If an item does not appear in our records, it does not exist.” it is likely that records do exist we just have not found them yet.

    I think this is why some historians who cling to the traditional story of Richard feel threatened and are lashing out. Their whole research has centered on what was found easily and could be construed using our societal mores and structure. Anyway Geographic Information Systems are not new ideas and technology so much as they are taking on a multi-dimensional pathway and are being used in archives, anthropology, history, and other ways that we can study human interaction.

    Place, time, and circumstances are all very important aspects of GIS technology. For example how does the layout of the land impact Richard’s behavior in the North in 1475, etc? or what circumstances might he have been in when he “took” the throne (and did he actually take it or was he responding to what was his anyway)? and in where was Richard and at what age was he when he was told his father was dead and now big bro was taking their father’s claim to the throne. Hancock eludes to GIS technology throughout his book which for some who are used to reading historical events as lineal it may seem to be out of line.

    I have recently started to map out Edward III’s descendants, political occurrences, and places to look in depth at how these may have affected those involved in the Wars of the Roses later. For example it is clear that the Peasant’s Revolt affected Richard II but how did it affect the whole of society which lead to the Wars beyond looking solely at Henry IV? For all of this I am using WorldAnvil and the interactive timeline the program offers as a database to for my own “world” to do so because I can pull up any person I’ve added in the timeline and see what they did, the circumstances in space and time, and who they interacted with. Of course historians have done this but often their subjects become 2 dimensional (good/bad, etc) rather than not because it is difficult to place them in layers and depth.

    WorldAnvil is a gaming website for creating 3D fictional or nonfictional worlds. Gamers use it as do authors and GIS is offered as part of the services. There are also open source (free) GIS programs. GIS technology is also being used in collection development for archives and libraries and will likely take the place of databases as we see them probably similar to the archives in Star Wars.

    I think as far as my thoughts about E-4 is that he was what I would equate as the “popular” jock who had enough intellect to convince others that he had their best interest in mind. While he was brilliant at some things, such as manipulating men to carry on marching towards battle, I do not seem him as particularly better at warfare or intellectual capabilities than Richard. or their interaction, as Matt states, how could Richard at such a young age not see his big brother as a hero? Yet at the same time based on what I read in Matt’s book, I also think Richard felt let down quite often by Edward and while I do not think Richard would have reacted to these let downs and even George’s execution in a revengeful manner, I do think he removed himself from interacting daily with Edward as he grew older and started to see Edward as he was.

    As I’ve expressed to Matt, I think that Richard would have had the guts to disagree with Edward in private and would have had qualms about executing an anointed king. That and I am of the opinion that Henry VI’s murder was far too sloppy for Richard to have carried out. If he were to carry it out I think he would have found something less bloody and messy than bludgeoning, no matter that he was only 19-ish. This too me was simply not careful enough.

    I also think Edward used land and money (or lack there of) as warnings to Richard. I also agree that the Countess of Oxford had more to do with Edward than Richard, as so many other activities appear to be. This is not to say that Richard did not want to expand, he was living in a time where not only was this acceptable it was expected. Why authors focus on the fact that he was accruing land or monetary gain as a negative where Richard is concerned is beyond me. Michael Jones eludes to this in The King’s Grave. We all know that at that time all nobles were and even commoners were beginning to move up in society.

    I am also in agreement with you that Eleanor may have actually been less than willing which may be one reason that I have a hard time with Edward. No matter how much I try to place him in his time on this issue, my own gut reaction finds him rather cruel and I do think he had a cruel streak even towards those he “loves”. I even think he was actually cruel to EW in the form of a secret marriage.

    Anyway, have a great day 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well, Colleen, where to start?! After reading about WorldAnvil (no gamer here, if I could figure out how to put a photo on my profile you’d see me with one of my 4 grandsons, all of whom are – to some degree – the youngest is just 3 and the oldest a veteran of 10; they are patient with their ‘Amma’ – hence the name)

    Perhaps I should change my online name to PrehistoricAmma as I have more in common with those manuscript illuminators Richard would have seen working in the scriptorium than I do with the many variations of RPG! I am sadly not exaggerating. For the last year I have been plotting out what superficially would be called a ‘graphic novel’ covering the months March through November 1483, the critical months for Richard, but I am no manga devotee. My students (I teach art history on the college level as an ‘elective’ for the Humanities and while they have managed to convince me to get an iPad and the pencil I still prefer to draw by hand, letter by hand; this whole project will be done by hand, no computer or digital intervention at all. For one thing, I have no idea how to do that lol, even with my many ‘beta readers’ who have no idea who Richard is beyond the Shakespearean version, and for another, I prefer to use the same methods of figurative drawing and composition that Michelangelo, Del Sarto, Pontormo, Raphael et al would not only recognize but one could say were my ‘teachers’ haha.

    Since I also work several days a month at our local Barnes & Noble (yes, we are still in business, for now) I have plenty of people to bounce ideas off of, but almost every last one is under 35 or 40 and the idea of drawing every frame of every page, inking every image, doing all the type, and writing it myself, baffles them. So, Brontosaurus here basically understood nothing of your WorldAnvil, I do have students who play D&D and try to explain that to me, or they do Cosplay (?) or Minecraft or they literally get paid by subscription (??) to play games online that others watch (this is quite beyond my grasp; my sheer antiquity amuses them, I think).

    They are also intrigued that I chose a ‘graphic novel’ format for Richard (I know it has been tried), as I do not read either manga or graphic novels per se – I know about them, but in my mind any illustrated format is a ‘graphic novel’ and the very use of panels separating these images is oh, shall we say, about as ‘modern’ as Giotto circa 1300! Who, btw, invented them, these panels, buttressed by ornate ‘framing devices, all painted as well, all in fresco – well, invented at least in regard to how we use pictorial language to this day.

    I love the WorldAnvil you describe, it sounds very handy for accumulating, collating, cross-referencing information on a screen rather than laboriously doing everything by hand but when I pulled up the WorldAnvil site and signed in the first thing it wanted me to do was create a hero? oh dear. NOW, I will say I am delighted with all the material I am finding online, digitized that I never expected to find, in terms of research, and I find these things usually by accident – just last night I was researching a saddler named John Hertyngton who did a fair amount of work for Richard for his coronation in 1483, and typical iPhone Safari search, you never quite know what will pop up, I found the law school at Houston has digitized virtually everything (probably from Henry I onwards, I just wanted E4, E5, and Richard last night) for the Common Pleas court records, and a host of other items, I almost fell over. AND the digitized parchment rolls as well, if I knew medieval Latin I would have been one happy girl. I can manage medieval French, Latin, not so much.

    One might ask, what could possibly be in hundreds of records (I scanned 1483-5 to start) in court cases in Common Pleas of any interest to anyone not in law school or studying medieval law … well, first, who isn’t suing someone? Even Cecily duchess of York had to sue for debts owed to her (in 1484). Usually for debts, but also for trespass, common recovery, ‘ravishment of ward’ (!) but to me it was the sheer host of names that you would well recognize that popped up, Catesby definitely at the top of that quick scan list! Busy lawyer, suing and being sued! I know most of Richard’s lawyers from his northern affinity and their names are all over the counties, not just London or Yorks. Tyrell, Dymmok, Viscount Lysle, John Morton, Lord Lovell! Thomas Howard, etc etc etc, I felt as though I was in the courtroom itself, fascinating the material that DOES exist.

    Enough of that, my point is you are quite right, thes documents existed in their medieval Latin for centuries and were only digitized in 2012, AND in collaboration with the English department – not even the History department. Who knows what else is fluttering about waiting to be found’ and available online – access is everything!

    well, my mind is spinning now, WorldAnvil, I can barely put a powerpoint together, BUT I can draw anything I want in any style I want (I prefer B&W) and I know exactly how this should look. Now … if only I could decide on things like, DID Hastings plot to have R actually killed, or put in ‘custody’ until they (he and his cohorts in the Council could figure out what to do with him?) … who was the first to contact R about E’s death? who told R about the pre-contract? how much ‘backstory’ (before March 1483) to reference? and on and on and on … I’ve rewritten alot (dialogue is easy, in a graphic novel its all dialogue, but my ‘certainty’ about many key events and individuals keeps changing! ) The drawing will be the easiest part, my senior art project was creating a book from scratch, binding, printing, setting type, 12 hour shifts on the press, etc. This will be a piece of cake by comparison, even without digital anything hahhaaaa.

    Have a lovely evening!

    Like

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.