Strutting and Fretting His Hour Upon the Stage: Notes and Bibliography

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Strutting and Fretting
His Hour Upon the Stage:
Notes and Bibliography


  1. Macbeth, (V, v, 27). Several scholars comment on the similarities between Richard III and Macbeth. For example, see Grant L. Voth, King Richard III: a guide for the Shakespeare plays (1983), p. 34, 37, who considers Richard as a “kind of first draft of Macbeth.” See generally Margaret Hotine, “Richard III and Macbeth – studies in Tudor tyranny?” Notes and Queries, vol. 38, no. 4 (1991). For other references, see index under “Macbeth” in James A. Moore, comp., Richard III: an annotated bibliography (1986), p. 832 [hereafter Moore,Bibliography].
  2. Jeremy Potter, Good King Richard? an account of Richard III and his reputation (1983), p. 258.
  3. Antony Sher, Year of the king: an actor’s diary and sketchbook (1985), p. 248.
  4. Lorraine C. Attreed and William Hogarth, “‘To Richard and Mary, twin plaques…’; the history of the Richard III Society,” The Imprint of the Stanford Libraries Associates, vol. 10, no. 2 (October 1984), pp. 14-15.
  5. Ibid., p. 16.
  6. T. Walter Wallbank, Alastair M. Taylor, and Nels M. Bailkey, Civilization: past and present. I (5th ed.; 1965); p. 405.
  7. For example, see Roger Lockyear, Tudor and Stuart Britain 1471-1714 (1964), p. ix: “Traditionally speaking, modern English history starts with the accession of Henry VII in 1485. Yet no revolutionary change took place in that year. The forces at work in English life were much the same after Bosworth as before….There was, indeed, no sudden break between medieval and modern England….the main reason for choosing 1485 was that it seemed to mark the re-emergence of strong monarchy after a hundred years of weakness and disorder culminating in civil war. In fact, the restoration began under Edward IV, and the methods used by the first Tudor were little more than a development of those of his Yorkist predecessor.” See also Michael Hicks, Richard III: the man behind the myth, (1991), p. 151.
  8. Charles Ross, Richard III (1981), pp. xlviii-li. See also Roxane C. Murph, Richard III: the making of a legend (1977), pp. 55-72.
  9. E.M.W. Tillyard, Shakespeare’s history plays (1944) pp. 29-32. I was able to identify Tillyard as the source from the following references: Robert Ornstein, A kingdom for a stage: the achievement of Shakespeare’s history plays (1972) pp. 15-16, 18; Paul M. Kendall, Richard the Third 1955, p. 505; Larry S. Champion, “Myth and counter-myth; the many faces of Richard III,” A fair day in the affections (1980), p. 50; Moore, Bibliography, pp. xii-xiii.
  10. Unless otherwise indicated, all act, scene, and line references in the body of the text are noted in parentheses and refer to William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Richard III.
  11. Hicks, p. 21. For a slightly different explanation of the Tudor Myth, see Ornstein, p. 19: “The early Tudor apologists, aware that the Tudor claim was not “indubitate,” had to avoid the issue of legitimacy by proclaiming again and again the sanctity of de facto royal authority. Rather than condemn the guilt of Henry IV, they dwelled on the villainy of Richard III; and rather than describe Henry VI as the scapegoat for his grandfather’s sin, they canonized him as a saintly martyr to Richard’s murderous ambition, when they foresaw the redemption of England under Richmond.” Some early scholars used “Richard Saga” or “Richard Myth” to describe only the negative propaganda without reference to a divine cycle of retributive justice. See George B. Churchill, Richard III up to Shakespeare (1900, 1976), p. iii.
  12. Tillyard, pp. 29-30.
  13. Hicks, p. 151: “Not all Yorkists accepted the dynastic claims of Henry VII, and nostalgia for Richard’s good government in Yorkshire, for his resident lordship in Richmondshire and his beneficial legislation persisted well into Henry VIII’s reign…”
  14. Ibid.
  15. York Records: extracts from the municipal records of the City of York, ed. by R. Davies (1843), p. 218; cited in Kendall, p. 444. See also Ross, p. 58: Richard was “exceptionally generous to the city of York….It is not surprising that York mourned his demise.”
  16. Hicks, pp. 69-70.
  17. Ross, p. 59.
  18. Ibid., pp. 94. For example, with regard to the disappearance of the princes in the Tower, outside of the south and west, the “rest of the country seems to have been untroubled….The loyalty of Richard’s northerners was in no way shaken.” Ibid., p. 104.
  19. Ornstein, p. 23.
  20. Ibid., p. 26.
  21. Ross, p. xxiii. He mentions such writers as John Rous and Pietro Carmeliano.
  22. Ibid., p. liii.
  23. Lockyear, p. 25.
  24. Ross, p. 227.
  25. Keith Dockray, Richard III: a reader in history (1988), p. 1.
  26. Kendall, p. 11.
  27. Ibid., p. 28.
  28. Ross, pp. 44. For more detail regarding Richard as Lord of the North, see Ibid., pp. 44-59, especially p. 48: “Richard was unique among medieval English kings in the extent of his connections with the North…. The shires north of Trent were neither populous nor wealthy, and loyalties were not lightly given to an outsider, as Henry VII and Henry VIII were to discover.”
  29. Polydore Vergil, Three books of Polydore Vergil’s English History, ed. by H. Ellis (1844), pp. 191-2; cited in Dockray, p. 112.
  30. 30. Ross, pp. 173-175 and 128-136.
  31. Ibid., pp. 184; for Richard’s good intentions as king, see also Ibid., 128, 173, 189; Hicks, pp. 105-7, 124-5.
  32. For the text of the act, see Kendall, p. 343.
  33. G.B. Churchill, p. 2: “It was the Richard of a hundred year old saga whom alone Shakespeare knew and made the subject of his play.” See also Hicks, p. 161: “[Shakespeare] could not have found sources favourable to Richard on which to draw but only the tradition transmitted by Vergil and More.”
  34. Ross, p. xxxi.
  35. “Alexander v. United States”, United States Law Week, vol. 61, no. 49 (June 29, 1993), p. 4802. See also G.B. Churchill, p. 1: “All had the strongest material inducements to favor the reigning house, and none at all to excite royal disfavor by even describing impartially such acts of the House of York as really deserved approbation. These inducements…were greatly increased in the reign of Elizabeth, whose nature imperiously demanded homage and rebuked favor shown to her historical as well as actual foes.” This is also corroborated by E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage (1923, rep 1974), iv, p. 264; cited in Hotine, p. 481; “All openly printed material had to be censored to ensure that it contained nothing critical of matters of religion or state.”
  36. Hotine, p. 480. At the time Richard III was written, one minister was dead and the other was over 60. The latter promoted his son, Robert Cecil, to succeed him. Like Shakespeare’s Richard, Cecil (later the Earl of Salisbury) had a hunchback. Incidentally, Sir Francis Bacon’s and Salisbury’s mothers were sisters. The relevant extract from Bacon’s essay, “Of Deformity,” reads like a description of Shakespeare’s Richard (see infra, note 80).
  37. Judith H. Anderson, Biographical truth: the representation of historical persons in Tudor-Stuart writing (1984), pp. 2. She adds that the “phenomenon of biographical fiction is common in the Tudor-Stuart period, virtually a way of life.” ibid, p. 76.
  38. This practice has not been limited to the 16th century. Witness Joe McGinniss’s recent Teddy Kennedy biography, The Last Brother, wonderfully parodied by John Leo in “Ruminating with Joe,” U.S. News & World Report, August 2, 1993, p. 16, as demonstrated by the following excerpt: “In the back [of the book] was the author’s note, right where nonruminating biographers usually put the sources, index and footnotes. It said plainly that The Last Brother is ‘at least as much a rumination as a biography.’ [The rules for writing ruminatively are] to ‘immerse yourself in the life and thought patterns of your subject. Then you get to infer thoughts at key moments.’ Author’s note: the author is not entirely sure whether the above interview actually took place. No matter. He thinks it’s true, and that’s the important thing.”
  39. Sir Thomas More, The History of King Richard III, ed. by R. S. Sylvester (1963), pp. 7-8; cited in Dockray, p. 24.
  40. Anderson, p. 7. According to Anderson, More could have selected a fictional format, but his choice of a less dramatic form enables him to use the veneer of history to lend veracity to his writings. Ibid., p. 76. See also Joseph Candido, “Thomas More, the Tudor chroniclers, and Shakespeare’s altered Richard,” English Studies, vol. 68, no. 2 (1987) p. 138, which refers to More’s well-known penchant for theatrics.
  41. Anderson, p. 93; Candido, p. 138.
  42. Winston Churchill, History of the English- Speaking Peoples, I (1956), p. 483; cited in James A. Moore, “Historicity in Shakespeare’s Richard III,” Ricardian Register, vol. 20, no. 4, Winter 1986, p. 20 [hereafter Moore, “Historicity”]. Nevertheless, Churchill opted for the traditional version of Richard as propounded by More.
  43. Horace Walpole, Historic doubts on the life and reign of Richard III, p. 116; cited in Ross, p. xxvi. Also see Anderson, p. 80, who observes that the opening sentence of More’s history has the “tone of certainty, dignity, significance, [and authoritativeness]….It also exhibits a notorious lack of factual accuracy.”
  44. Peter L. Rudnytsky, “More’s History of King Richard III as an uncanny text,” Contending kingdoms: historical, psychological, and feminist approaches to the literature of 16th-century England and France (1991), p. 149.
  45. A. F. Pollard, “The making of Sir Thomas More’s Richard III,” reprinted in Essential Articles for the Study of Thomas More, ed. by Richard S. Sylvester and Germain Marc’hadour (1977), p. 421; cited in Rudnytsky, p. 149: According to Pollard, the puzzles include “its authority, its sources, the circumstances of its publication, the relation of the English to the Latin versions, the absence of any original autograph, the variations in the printed texts, the motive of its conception, and the reasons for its unfinished state and abrupt termination.”
  46. Rudnytsky, p. 161; Anderson, p. 105. There are two major ways of explaining why More’s text ends suddenly when Bishop Morton, while in the custody of Buckingham, hints that the latter ought to advance his own claims to the throne: 1) In More’s own time, there was another duke of Buckingham with the same claims to the throne, and More was concerned that his work might be interpreted as inciting him to treason; and 2) More gradually realized his work could be taken (as Halle evidently took it) as an apology for the Tudor dynasty, which he himself didn’t entirely trust and, therefore, halted his work. Anderson also suggests that More stopped because he had seen enough of the current political reality and lost faith in the ability of his writing to influence events. Anderson, p. 108.
  47. Anderson, p. 105.
  48. Rudnytsky, pp. 165-7. More recognized these similarities between Edward IV and Henry VIII: obesity from overindulgence, amorous propensities, and equivocal circumstances surrounding their marriages.
  49. Ross, p. xxiii. Although Vergil himself says that he was encouraged to write his history of England by a formal request from Henry VII, the various preferments he received during the last seven years of the reign were owed more to an Italian cardinal’s influence with the king. After his work was published in 1534, Vergil received no royal patronage and incurred the spiteful hostility of Cardinal Wolsey.
  50. Kendall, p. 502; see also ibid., p. 578, note 5.
  51. Ibid., p. 502.
  52. Candido, p. 138. More provides a far more lively and dramatic account of Richard than does Vergil. See also Ross, p. xxiii.
  53. Vergil, pp. 226-7; cited in Dockray, p. 23.
  54. Kendall, p. 502; Ross, p. xxiv; Tillyard, p. 36.
  55. Candido, pp. 139-40.
  56. A.P. Rossiter, “Angel with horns: the unity of Richard III.” Angel with Horns and other Shakespeare lectures (1961); repr. in William Shakespeare, The tragedy of Richard III, ed. by Mark Eccles (1988), p. 216.
  57. Ornstein, p. 21. Each chronicler, however, selects and edits his materials in his own way.
  58. Edward Halle, The Union of the Two Noble Families of Lancaster and York, “King Richard III, f. 35; cited in Dockray, p. 24.
  59. Raphael Holinshed, Holinshed’s Chronicle, p. 175-6; cited in Dockray, p. 25.
  60. Kendall, p. 505. See also Dockray, p. 13; Hicks, p. 160; and Champion, p. 50.
  61. G.B. Churchill, p. 2.
  62. Geoffrey Bullough, ed. Narrative and dramatic sources of Shakespeare, Vol. III: Earlier English history plays – Henry VI, Richard III, Richard II (1960), pp. 232-3; G.B. Churchill, p. 245.
  63. G.B. Churchill, p. 236.
  64. More, pp. 8-9, cited in Dockray, p. 47.
  65. G.B. Churchill, p. 242.
  66. Ibid., pp. 265, 269-70, 272.
  67. Ibid., p. 393; Bullough, pp. 235, 237.
  68. G.B. Churchill, pp. 398-404, 497-524; Bullough, pp. 239-40.
  69. Moore, “Historicity,” p. 23.
  70. C. Hugh Holman, A handbook to literature, 3rd ed. (1972), p. 484.
  71. Ibid., pp. 328-9; Voth, pp. 19-20.
  72. Bernard Spivack, Shakespeare and the Allegory of Evil (1958), p. 306; cited in Wolfgang Clemen, A commentary of Shakespeare’s Richard III (1968), pp. 37, 105, 125; see also Voth, p. 19.
  73. Benét’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, 3rd ed. (1987), p. 597; G.B. Harrison, ed., Shakespeare: the complete works (1968), p. 139 (footnote to Henry VI, Part III, Act III, scene iii, line 193).
  74. At least atouch of humanity in Richard’s character goes beyond the standard convention of the unfeeling stage Machiavel. See Moore, Bibliography, pp. xxx-xxxi.
  75. Peter Saccio, Richard III: Player-King (1985), p. 12 [hereafter Saccio, Player-King].
  76. For a further discussion of the issue of Shakespeare’s historical soundness in Richard III, see Moore, “Historicity.” See also infra, note 105. Scholars observe that Shakespeare’s chronological inaccuracies serve a dramatic purpose. See Rossiter, p. 216; Ornstein, p. 22.
  77. Clemen, pp. 107-8; Voth, p. 13. See Clemen generally for the historicity discussion, as well as Peter Saccio, Shakespeare’s English Kings (1977), pp. 115- 186.
  78. Moore argues that we should “certify the play for what it is, a drama whose magnitude is beyond historical debate.” Moore, “Historicity,” p. 21.
  79. Sher, p. 177.
  80. Henry VI, Part III, (III, iii, 155-160) and (V, vi, 71-79).
  81. Hicks, p. 49.
  82. Clemen, p. 6, which also cites Francis Bacon’s Essay #44, “Of Deformity.” See also supra, note 34.
  83. M.M. Reese, The cease of majesty: a study of Shakespeare’s history plays (1961), [no page reference]; cited in Voth, p. 13; See also John W. Blanpied, “The dead-end comedy of Richard III,” William Shakespeare’s Richard III, ed. by Harold Bloom (1988), p. 62. Shakespeare constantly underscores the notion of Richard as actor by the use of stage metaphors: e.g., “plots have I laid” (I, i, 32); “I will perform it.” (I, i, 110); “And seem a saint when I most play the devil.” (I, iii, 337); and especially the discourse on the art of acting: “I can counterfeit the deep tragedian…” (III, v, 4-11). See also Rossiter, p. 233.
  84. Michael Neill, “Shakespeare’s Halle of mirrors: play, politics and psychology in Richard III,” William Shakespeare’s Richard III, ed. by Harold Bloom (1988), p. 19.
  85. Neill, p. 27; Saccio, Player-King, p. 3; and R. Chris Hassel, Jr., “Context and charisma: the Sher-Alexander Richard III and its reviewers,” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 5 (1985) p. 632.
  86. S.P. Cerasano, “Churls just wanna have fun: reviewing Richard III,” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 5 (1985), pp. 621-623, in describing Antony Sher’s performance.
  87. Sher, p. 42.
  88. Even though Richard says he is “rudely stamped” and “want[s] love’s majesty to strut before a wanton ambling nymph.” (I, i, 16-17)
  89. As Candido posits, More “embroiders his subject with a restless urgency and impatience completely lacking in Polydore’s account….Repeated evocations of Richard’s haste are joined with his abrupt fluctuations of mood or his eagerness to force an historical moment to its crisis….” Candido, pp. 138-40.
  90. Candido, pp. 139-41.
  91. Ibid., p. 141.
  92. Dockray, pp. 1,13.
  93. Hicks, p. 15. See also Kendall, p. 514: “The forceful moral pattern of Vergil, the vividness of More, the fervor of Hall, and the dramatic exuberance of Shakespeare have endowed the Tudor myth with a vitality that is one of the wonders of the world. What a tribute this is to art; what a misfortune this is for history.”
  94. After independently developing this hypothesis, I found portions of it validated by Ornstein, p. 31 and Rossiter, pp. 236-8. See also opinion of Geoff Pickstone in letter to editor ofRicardian Bulletin, Sept. 1991, p. 27-8: “By loading our hero with responsibility for every conceivable wrong of the time and portraying him as so sinister, or even diabolic, that the whole plot surrounding the character descends to the level of a ludicrous black comedy, could not Shakespeare have been mocking the long held, official Tudor history?….Could not Richard III be the supreme dramatic irony?”
  95. Clemen, p. 232.
  96. Neill, p. 16; Rossiter, p. 231. For the opposite view of Richard as embodying moral and political evil within a theatrical framework, see Ornstein, p. 246; Bill Overton, “Play of the King? King Richard III and Richard,” Critical Survey, vol. 1, no. 1 (1989), p. 6.
  97. Saccio, Player-King, p. 1. I am indebted to him for this observation.
  98. Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time (New York: Berkley-Medallion, 1975), pp. 79 & 95, 177, 92, 26. (Actually, Shakespeare is mentioned a total of eight times, though not all the references are relevant.) With regard to Richard as caricature, see also Moore, “Historicity,” p. 22: “This paradoxical villain (evil/comical; hypocritical/candid; demonic/human) was intended as a complex literary character and not as a representation of the actual Richard.”
  99. Tey was criticized for her lack of attribution of sources, for attacks on professional historians, for purposely withholding information, and for not agreeing with the received view of Richard. See David Allen, “Richard III: trial by jury; a new novel brings the controversy back to life and launches a new sub-genre,” Armchair Detective, vol. 20, no. 4 (Fall 1987), pp. 403-411; Champion, pp. 37-54; Carl E. Rollyson, Jr., “The detective as historian: Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time, Iowa State Journal of Research, vol. 53, no. 1 (August 1978), pp. 21-30; M.J. Smith, “Controversy: Townsend, Tey, and Richard III: A Rebuttal,” Armchair Detective, vol. 10, no. 4 (Fall 1977), pp. 317- 319; Ralph Stewart, “Richard III, Josephine Tey, and some uses of rhetoric,” Clues: A Journal of Detection, vol. 12, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1991), pp. 91- 99; and Guy M. Townsend, “Richard III and Josephine Tey: partners in crime,” Armchair Detective, vol. 10, no. 3 (Summer 1977), pp. 211-224. For Tey’s criticism of historians, see Tey, pp. 79, 104-107, 122, 142, 155, 157-9, 181-183, 192, 195-196, 207-208, 213, 217.
  100. Since Daviot died before Kendall’s substantial biography was published in 1955, her source for both the novel and play was Sir Clements Markham. (It seems to me that Daviot gives indirect credit to Markham in Dickon: the two pages are named Clement and Mark.) His impassioned defense, Richard III: his life and character, was published in 1906 and exonerated Richard of all crimes attributed to him by the Tudors. Critics suggest that Daviot had access to a contemporary account of the usurpation which came to the attention of English historians in the 1930s but which she purposely ignored because it refuted Markhams’s thesis of the totally innocent Richard. Specifically, see Townsend, pp. 213-214, 218.
  101. “Dickon,” London Times, May 10, 1955, p. 3E (theatre review); Audrey Williamson, “Gordon Daviot,” Modern British Dramatists 1900-45, Vol. 10 of Dictionary of Literary Biography,p. 141; “Josephine Tey,” Twentieth-century literary criticism, vol. 14, pp. 448, 451, 459-460; Nancy E. Talburt, “Josephine Tey,” Ten women of mystery, ed. by Earl F. Bargainnier (1981), p. 46.
  102. Talburt, p. 46. See also Sandra Roy, Josephine Tey (1980), p. 27; cited in Twentieth-century literary criticism, vol. 14, p. 459: “Her central characters are leaders saddened by the loss of friends, defeated by unthinking opposition, and misunderstood by history.”
  103. London Times, p. 3E; Williamson, p. 141; Talburt, p. 46. See also Sir John Gielgud in a foreword to Plays, Vol. I by Gordon Daviot (1953), pp. ix-xii; cited in “Josephine Tey,”Twentieth-century literary criticism, vol. 14, p. 451: “In Dickon…Gordon does not succeed, to my mind, in making the character of Richard III sufficiently convincing as a hero, and her good Richard does not begin to be an adequate substitute for the thrilling monster of Shakespeare’s play.”
  104. Clemen, p. 68.
  105. Gordon Daviot, Dickon, ed. with an introduction, historical commentary and notes by Elizabeth Haddon (London: Heinemann, 1966). All further references are to this edition.
  106. The major temporal error I noticed occurs in Act II, scene i. In August 1483, Richard is on his royal progress throughout the realm and stops in Gloucester to meet with a deputation of tradesmen. They comment on the things Richard has done since he became King: “No more common lands snitched to make hunting forests for the court… No more buying of jurymen’s votes at a shilling a time. No more sitting in prison while your business goes to ruin because you can’t get bail.” It is my understanding from Kendall, pp. 338-343, that these were acts passed in Richard’s only parliament of January 1484. Daviot apparently makes a few errors in the geographical placement of individuals. I can find no evidence in Kendall or Ross that Buckingham was at Middleham in April 1483; that the arrest of Rivers occurred at Stony Stratford when Prince Edward was sent out of the room; or that Stanley was in charge of Buckingham’s execution.
  107. In March 1457, King James II banned golf in Scotland in the interest of military discipline. Golf Digest Almanac (New York: Golf Digest/Tennis, 1989), p. 486.
  108. William Snyder, “Halstead’s Richard III,” The Ricardian, no. 38 (September 1974), pp. 6-11; cited in Moore, “Historicity,” p. 21: “Shakespeare’s chronological errors must be attributed to the dramatic spirit in which he wrote. He thought as a dramatist and made mere matter of fact subservient to the powerful delineation of character.” See infra, note 74.
  109. I consulted Kendall, Ross, and Rosemary Horrox, Richard III: a study in service (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989).



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  • Cerasano, S.P. “Churls just wanna have fun: reviewing Richard III.” Shakespeare Quarterly, vol. 36, no. 5 (1985), pp. 618-629.
  • Colley, Scott. Richard’s himself again: a stage history of “Richard III.” New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
  • Day, Gillian M. “‘Determined to prove a villain’: theatricality in Richard III.” Critical Survey, vol. 3, no. 2 (1991), pp. 149-156.
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