Reporting from the fifteenth century

Posted by Tory Historian Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tory Historian is taking a trip into the fifteenth century this week-end. It is very conveniently to be found at the Roundhouse in North London. Tonight it is Shakespeare's "Richard II" (well, all right, parts of the fourteenth as well) and tomorrow the two parts of "Henry IV".

As described earlier, "Henry V" had to be seen out of sequence, as tickets for tomorrow evening's performance had already been sold out. That means a break tomorrow evening and the three parts of "Henry VI" on Saturday.

"Richard III" will be given a miss. It is not a particularly good play - far less subtle than the others, being straightforward Tudor propaganda, as Tory Historian has discussed once before. It is a historical travesty and a terrible calumny on a king who was reasonably successful and reasonably popular.

Instead, a re-reading of Josephine Tey's "The Daughter of Time" is called for as well as, possibly, some of the new and more accurate books on the subject. If only there were time to read all that is needed.

Incidentally, Richard II ascends the throne as a child though not as a baby, which is the fate of Henry VI. Much trouble comes from these unhappy inheritances. Setting aside the question of who murdered the princes in the Tower and the problem of their legitimacy, it is quite clear that Richard III is right in thinking that a child ruling England at that time was a recipe for a disaster.

Further reports from the late Plantagenet reign will follow.


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