Where to Start on Our Site
If you don’t know anything at all about Richard III, go straight to one or more of these online essays for an orientation:
- Richard III: The Making of a Legend, by Roxane C. Murph. The first two chapters of this book, published in 1977, serve as an excellent starter biography and introduction to the Wars of the Roses, a dynastic conflict that ran more or less the same time as Richard’s entire life.
- Strutting and Fretting His Hour upon the Stage by Judy Weinsoft. This lecture was delivered at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1993 and is an excellent introduction to Shakespeare’s play. It also has an extensive bibliography which can help you locate additional useful sources.
- Historicity in Shakespeare’s Richard III by Professor James A. Moore, author of the Garland Shakespeare Bibliography on Richard III. In this essay, Moore traces the relationship of Shakespeare’s Richard to the historical Richard.
You’ll also want to get the standard biographies of Richard III. For all practical purposes, there are three:
- Paul Murray Kendall, Richard the Third. Norton, 1955. This is a sympathetic biography and was considered the definitive biography from the time of its publication until the publication of Charles Ross’s biography in 1981.
- Charles D. Ross, Richard III. Eyre Methuen, 1981; then printed by University of California Press as part of its English Monarchs series. Not very friendly to Richard.
- A. J. Pollard, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower. Alan Sutton and St. Martin’s Press, 1991. Also not very friendly, but probably the most comprehensive and certainly the most lavishly illustrated. Available in paperback at places like Borders or Barnes & Noble for less than $20 — you might want to own a copy. Check out his “Further Reading” section in the back of the book — it’s a complete study guide in itself!