Historicity in Shakespeare’s Richard III

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by James A. Moore, Ph.D.

This article originally appeared in the Winter, 1986 (Vol. XX, No.4) edition of the Ricardian Register as the result of a lengthy correspondence on the subject between Dr. Moore, an acknowledged Shakespearean scholar and Society member, and the then Editor of the American Branch publication. Dr. Moore’s presentation of Shakespeare the artist, the immortal dramatist, is as pertinent and thought-provoking today as it was when the article was originally published. Therefore, we are doubly grateful to him for both the original work and his gracious permission for its present re-publication. Copyright © James A. Moore. Permission to reproduce this electronic version of this document in accordance with the Fair Use provisions of the Copyright Act of 1976 is hereby granted, provided that no alterations are made to the text and that this notice appears as part of the reproduction.

In a letter in the Summer issue of the Ricardian Register, a writer asked Mary Miller whether she regards Shakespeare’s play, The Tragedy of Richard the Third (c. 1590-94) as “historically sound.” (1) This inquiry came from the publisher of a book on the Tower of London, which Ms. Miller, in the Spring issue of the Register, had cited for historical inaccuracies. This incident reminds us that the general public (and some not-so-general public) is not clear on 15th-century English history in relation to Shakespeare’s play, despite voluminous research on the subject by historians and Shakespeare scholars.

Some would say the question should have been declared dead in 1844 when Caroline Halsted showed that the time had long passed when historians, at least knowledgeable historians like her, considered Shakespeare’s play factually true. (2) She methodically analyzed Shakespeare’s characterization of Richard in the Henry VI plays, explaining how Shakespeare served his dramatic purposes by introducing anachronisms, by foreshortening historical time, and by embellishing “historical” details of Richard’s wicked image from Holinshed’s Chronicles. Her understanding of Shakespeare’s dramatic use of history in Richard III was remarkably clear compared to most other commentators of her time, and William H. Snyder’s condensed edition of her biography provides a great service to modern readers. (3) Besides Halsted’s work, other revisionist literature published by the mid-19th century (4) included persuasive works by George Buck (5) (published in corrupted form by his nephew, George Buck, Esp. in 1647) and by Horace Walpole (1768). (6) However, the revisionist aims of such publications were more than offset by the compelling force of Shakespeare’s play, which continued to dominate popular histories despite Halsted’s disclaimer. For example, in 1852-54, Charles Dickens followed Shakespeare in portraying Richard III for children. (7) At the end of the century, James Gairdner’s influential history of Richard’s life and reign (1898) (8) adhered faithfully to the accounts of Thomas More and Shakespeare. Gairdner’s most competent adversary was Sir Clement Markham (9), but his work was to have little effect before 1951, when Josephine Tey incorporated Markham’s viewpoint in the best of the revisionist novels, Daughter of Time(10). Similarly, despite substantial literary and historical evidence to the contrary from the pens of Tey and other revisionists such as A.R. Myers (11) and Paul M. Kendall (12), Winston Churchill’s History of the English-Speaking Peoples (1956)(13) opted for the traditional version of More, although Churchill acknowledged that More’s object “seems to have been less to compose a factual narrative than a moralistic drama” (p.483)

Throughout the 20th century, historians and literary critics have thoroughly understood the Tudor bias tainting the historicity of Shakespeare’s sources for Richard III, not only as found in Thomas More’s History of Richard III, but especially in the chronicles of Polydore Vergil, Edward Hall, and Raphael Holinshed. In addition, historical critics such as E.M.W. Tillyard (14), Lily B. Campbell (15), and Irving Ribner (16) have shown that Elizabethan history plays, including Shakespeare’s Richard III,were never intended as strictly historical documents, except in the chauvinistic sense that such plays exploited received history for dramatic effect. Most importantly, Ribner made it clear that Shakespeare’s so-called history plays undoubtedly represent a genre of dramatic literature that subsumes history rather than verifies it. Yet, in mid-1986, in the wake of all the research indicating that Shakespeare was a creative dramatist but never an historian, the question of historical accuracy in Richard IIIpersists. As I have indicated, Ms. Halsted provided a bridge between historical and literary appreciation that Ricardians would do well to review. Now I shall attempt to strengthen that bridge by concentrating on the proposition that in Richard III the question is not one of historical accuracy, but whether historicity lends itself to the creation of effective drama.

First, how close to Ms. Halsted’s balanced view of the play have Ricardians stood? Actually, pretty close. Cursory examination of statements about Shakespeare in The Ricardian (17) reveals, by and large, a healthy respect for his genius. Seldom have they accused him with Thomas More and the Tudor chroniclers of being a deliberate propagandist for the Tudors. Furthermore, reviews of Richard III stage productions generally have focused upon dramatic merit rather than strictly upon historical deficiencies. However, in a letter commenting upon Laurence Olivier’s portrayal of Richard a reader epitomized the Ricardian love-hate attitude toward the play as “very good Shakespeare, but very bad history.” (18) Somewhat more objectively, the journal published Mr. Snyder’s summary of Ms. Halsted’s chapter stating the crucial point about historical inaccuracies in Richard III: “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.” (19) Apparently, however, we must constantly inform the general reader on this point. Even more importantly, Ricardians themselves must not regress from a level of hard-won enlightenment. (20) I suggest that Ricardians could help their cause by frankly urging that Shakespeare’s play be treated as great drama rather than as poor history. Even Walpole admitted that “Shakespeare’s immortal scenes will exist, when such poor arguments as mine are forgotten.” (21) Now it is time to certify the play for what it is, a drama whose magnitude is beyond historical debate.

Many Ricardians have demonstrated their understanding of the play itself as a sort of history-within-the-history of King Richard III. However, to appreciate this perspective fully one must separate Shakespeare’s dramatic characterization of Richard III from the historical English king whose controversial life and reign have sustained a 500-year debate. This extremely difficult process I broach with caution. I do not insist that Ricardians reverse their position on the historical inaccuracies of Shakespeare’s play (nor, especially, of its sources); however, those inaccuracies have been established to the point of redundancy. Moreover, they are really beside the point I wish to make here — I suggest only that an informed perspective on Shakespeare’s play as dramatic literature would move Ricardians to a higher ground in their assault upon distorted history.

Shakespeare’s treatment of various sources supports the notion that his overriding purpose in Richard III was dramatic rather then historical. The sources are no longer problematic, but traditionalists who continue to look to the play for historical verification of Richard III’s popular image (22) should understand that the audience appeal of Shakespeare’s play, admittedly very great from the time Richard Burbage created the title role in the 1590s, has not been generated through derision of the historical King Richard III. Rather, audiences have been fascinated with the play’s great central figure, the physically and morally grotesque character named Richard III, in whom Shakespeare embodied our universal fears and desires. As difficult as it must be for revisionists and traditionalists alike to make this separation between the historical king and the dramatic character, a balanced assessment of the play’s historicity demands no less.

In fact, according to George B. Churchill (23), Richard III as king of England and the myth surrounding him had already become separated in the minds of Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Churchill was the first to study the sources of the play systematically, tracing the growth of Richard’s “saga” in the chronicles from the History of the Arrival of Edward IV (1471) to Stowe’s Annales (1580, 1592). Churchill recognized that the York family history was written chiefly by Lancastrian chroniclers who no doubt had good reason to favor the Tudor line. Subsequently, over many decades, literary treatment of the biased chronicles grew into the narrative of Richard III, the Wicked King. Thus, according to Churchill, no truly “historical” Richard existed in the English mind by the end of the 16th century, when the so-called history play began to evolve. Geoffrey Bullough (24) concurs in Churchill’s analysis that commentators progressively added to Richard’s alleged wickedness. Among Shakespeare’s direct sources for Richard III Bullough included Thomas More’s The History of King Richard III (c. 1513-22), Polydore Vergil’s Anglica Historia (1534-1570), Richard Grafton’s Continuation of Hardyng’s Chronicle (1543) and A Chronicle at Large (1568-69), Edward Hall’s The Union of the Two Noble and Illustrious Families of Lancaster and York (1548), Raphael Holinshed’s The Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland (Second edition, 1587), Fabyan’s Chronicle (1516 and later) and perhaps the Memoirs of Phillipe de Commynes (1488-1504). Source studies have shown that Shakespeare gleaned the main substance of the play from Holinshed, who plagiarized More, Polydore, and Hall (25), but the important point here is that Shakespeare simply lifted details from these “historical” sources and rendered them into superior dramatic form in the process of creating his own Richard III. Therefore, to oppose Shakespeare’s interpretation of Richard’s character to a revisionist historian’s interpretation such as that of say, Kendall, would be no more logical than trying to prove Shakespeare’s interpretation by appealing to a traditionalist historian such as Charles Ross (26).

The separation of the King from the Character becomes even more feasible if we examine the literary priorities in Shakespeare’s play. Indeed, revisionists who ignore such elements may be tempted to extend a one-dimensional condemnation of the play’s faulty historicity, just as a traditionalist might be equally prone to extend a one-dimensional verification. In contrast, since the late 19th century, literary critics studying the play within the context of Elizabethan England — an approach known as “historical criticism” — have developed a view of Shakepeare’s Richard III as a personable blend of literary and dramatic conventions. To a great extent, historical criticism of Shakespeare’s plays is necessarily grounded in source studies that account for a variety of contemporary influences radiating from medieval history, Tudor politics, and religion. However, such considerations only modify a dramatic tradition from which emerges Shakespeare’s paradoxical villain — his Richard III is at once evil and comical, hypocritical and candid, demonic and human. In brief, Shakespeare’s Richard is a complex literary character, not intended to represent the actual King Richard III.

The controversial, but vital, point may be illustrated by examining parallels of character, theme, and action in Richard III and Macbeth. Here it is important to note that literary critics often illustrate the emergence of Shakespearean tragedy from the history plays by tracing these parallels (27). (Indeed Lily Campbell asserts that Shakespeare wrote Richard III with no clear distinction between tragedy and history in mind.) Of course, both plays draw on Holinshed, although Shakespeare freely adapted “historical” accounts of both reigns to his dramatic purposes. Macbeth’s crimes are every bit as bloody as Richard III’s, and Macbeth’s may be even more detrimental to the commonweal. Richard and Macbeth die almost precisely in the same desperate state of mind and almost in exactly the same manner. Finally, their epitaphs bring them to the same judgment: Richard is a “bloody dog” (V.v.2) and Macbeth is a “dead butcher” (V.ix.35). Why, then, do we accept, even admire, Shakespeare’s wicked Macbeth, while we insist that his depiction of a wicked Richard III is a travesty of history? Our attitude toward these characters, of course, hinges on literary rather than historical considerations. By consensus, Macbeth is a great tragedy, while Richard III is a “history play” (28). That is, Macbeth’s character reveals an inner life; the audience is allowed to share sympathetically in his development from good into evil and finally into tragic insight. However, Richard’s character is evil from the beginning to the end, ultimately rejecting the self-understanding and remorse that flicker upon his consciousness in Act V. Even though Bernard Shaw and a few others have admired Richard’s Nietzschean Will to Power (29), most critics have viewed him as a comic villain, a consummate actor who deceives both himself and others, and ultimately a case of perverted intellect. Clearly, the essential differences in our attitude toward Richard and Macbeth are based on literary choices that Shakespeare made, choices which transcended historical precedents — he created a melodramatic villain in Richard, a tragic villain in Macbeth. Aside from the circumstance which brought Shakespeare to portray Richard before Macbeth, we could argue that his treatment of the two characters might easily have been reversed. In such a case, it would be interesting to see whether the historicity ofRichard III as a great tragedy would have taken precedent over its dramatic achievement! But yet, ignoring the logic of these same literary priorities, some of us continue to fault the historicity of Richard III as though the play were not a dramatic entity.

Thus, in writing Richard III, Shakespeare functioned as artist rather than as historian. This priority becomes even more compelling in light of the literary sources and influences relating to the play, which were pervasive in Shakespeare’s day. For example, we sometimes fail to note that Shakespeare did not write the only play on Richard III; several were already in existence, although critics have not definitely proven that he borrowed directly from them. These plays included Thomas Legge’s Latin version, Richardus Tertius (1579), and the anonymous True Tragedy of Richard III (publ. 1594). While these plays differ from Shakespeare’s version in certain details, the title characters adhere consistently to an image of melodramatic wickedness. Probably in the same mold, Ben Jonson wrote Richard Crookback, a play now lost. In addition, Shakespeare may have utilized passages from the old King Leir play (publ. 1594), and numerous critics have demonstrated his reliance upon contemporary tyrant-tragedies such as Thomas Kyd’sSpanish Tragedy (c. 1582-92) and Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine in two parts (c.1589-90). Indeed, the literary precedents for Shakespeare’s character were so pervasive in Elizabethan England as to indicate that Richard III was looked upon more as a figure of legend than of actual history. For example, Bullough mentions the possible influence of such medieval ballads as Humphrey Brereton’s The Song of Lady Bessy and the anonymous Rose of England. And Shakespeare certainly used the first edition of A Mirror for Magistrates (1559), containing three medieval “complaints” or “tragedies”: Henry VI and George Duke of Clarence by William Baldwin; and Edward IV by John Skelton. The second edition of the Mirror (1563) contained six more relevant “tragedies”: Baldwin’s Sir Anthony Woodville, Lord Rivers and Collingbourne; John Dolan’s Lord Hastings; Thomas Sackville’s The Complaint of Henrie Duke of Buckingham; Frances Seager’s Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester; and Thomas Churchyard’s Shore’s Wife. Specifically, John Dover Wilson (30) has shown that in composing Clarence’s dream in Act I, Scene iv, Shakespeare was inspired by reading Sackville’s introduction to the first edition of the Mirror as well as Baldwin’s tragedy of Clarence. Wilson further contends that Shakespeare invented most of Act I.

Obviously, Shakespeare’s play is far more than a “history” of Richard III plagiarized from Tudor chronicles. The character emerged not only from the literary saga of Richard III, but also from dramatic tradition that, by Shakespeare’s time, included the Senecan tyrant, the stage Machiavel, and the Vice-figure of the English Morality Plays. Irving Ribner has explained that each of these conventions is significant in identifying the essential character of Richard III as Shakespeare intended him to be, and, with a brief survey of these conventions, I shall conclude the present study. Robert McDonnell (31) provides an excellent analysis of the conventional Elizabethan stage villain, the character with an “aspiring mind” who seeks political sovereignty. This figure was prominent in Renaissance drama from Gorboduc, 1561-62, through the early 17th century. Characteristically, he appears in Senecan plays with intellectual rather than popular appeal. Second, he opposes the moral order by being atheistic and satanic, sometimes defying the power of Fortuna. Third, his moral monstrousness is symbolically represented by some unnatural quality, such as Richard III’s hunchback, Edmund’s illegitimacy, or Macbeth’s dwarfish appearance in Duncan’s royal robes. Fourth, his career traditionally follows a pyramidal contour of the rise, the triumph, and the fall (the medieval pattern of tragedy based on the de casibus theme). Such pre-Renaissance traditions, as well as contemporary English drama, provide a background for interpreting Shakespeare’s first great Aspirer, Richard III, with his conventional elements of a pyramid-shaped career, a deformed body, and an irreligious attitude. Finally, the Machiavellian stage villain and the Morality Vice-figure merged with the Senecan tyrant almost imperceptibly (32). On the other hand, Bernard Spivack (33)has firmly established Richard’s kinship with the hypocritical Vice-figure, while A.P. Rossiter (34) and John Sheriff (35) are among the many who have appreciated the grotesque comic mode that Richard inherited from the Morality Vice.

Thus, Shakespeare made use of both classical and native English traditions in pursuit of his dramatic aims, as is further demonstrated by the rich imagery of Clarence’s dream (I.iv). Harold F. Brooks (36) has identified many of the classical antecedents in Ovid’sMetamorphoses, in the Aeneid, and in Seneca’s plays. Other studies have found that Clarence’s dream imagery is similar to that of Virgil’s classical underworld (37) and to Dante’s hell (38). Brooks also identified English sources for the dream in Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596). However, Bain Stewart (39) relates Clarence’s proleptic dream to the medieval dumbshow convention as well as to Elizabethan psychological theory. And Wolfgang H. Clemen (40) finds Clarence’s dream more psychologically subtle than Richard’s dream (V.iii), which is itself highly structured in the Morality Play tradition. According to Robert Presson (41), both Clarence and Richard experience the medieval type dream known as “prick-of-conscience,” which Shakespeare found in Holinshed. However, so that Richard and Richmond would dream the same dream and, thereby, emphasize the supernatural forces of Good and Evil determining their fates, Shakespeare reshaped Holinshed’s naturalistic dream version of hell into a formal, purely artistic concept. Finally, Marjorie Garber (42) sees the iconic patterns of the medieval memento mori (“reminders of mortality”) signified in objects such as skulls in Clarence’s dream.

Members join the Richard III Society for various reasons — an interest in genealogical subjects, the excitement of delving into a mystery, the satisfaction of vindicating injustice, an intellectual fascination with the past, and for many Americans, an unabashed Anglophilia. Of course, each of us would express his or her motive uniquely, but the Society’s basic purpose — the discovery of historical truth — is the ideal motive. In this sense, the study of 15th-century English history provides the context for understanding Richard III and his reign, and American Ricardians have validated this principle by underwriting a graduate fellowship for the study of Richard III’s life and reign. Yet, in a larger sense, the “Richard III phenomenon,” with its impact on succeeding generations, is itself a part of history. This is mainly due to the inexorable Shakespearean industry. However, the dramatic art of Richard III is so powerful that, through it, history and anti-history sometimes reach a synthesis. In this, at least, Ricardians may take some comfort.


  1. “Ricardian Post.”Ricardian Register (Official Publication of the American Branch) 20, No. 2 (Summer, 1986).
  2. Richard III as Duke of Gloucester and King of England. 2 vols. London: Longman, Brown, Green & Longmans, 1844. Reprint. Dursley, Gloucestershire: Alan Sutton, 1977.
  3. The Crown and the Tower: The Legend of Richard III. Sea Cliff, NY: Richard III Society, 1981. 295 pp.
  4. Moore, James, comp. Richard III: An Annotated Bibliography. The Garland Shakespeare Bibliographies (General Editor, William Godshalk), No. 11. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, Vol. 425, New York & London: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1986. 867 pp. See Chapter V (pp.407-528) and Chapter VII (pp.697-766) for revisionist publications, including histories, biographies, novels, plays, and poems. For a good introduction to the revisionist-traditionalist conflict, the non-specialist should see also Taylor Littleton and Robert R. Rea, eds. To Prove a Villain: the Case of King Richard III. New York: Macmillan, 1964. 206 pp. This anthology contains excerpts from primary historical sources for 3 Henry VI, as well as the complete texts of Richard III and Josephine Tey’s Daughter of Time.
  5. The History of King Richard III (1619). Edited with an introduction and notes by Arthur Noel Kincaid. Gloucester: Alan Sutton, 1979; Reprint with corrections, 1982. 361 pp.
  6. Historic Doubts on the Life and Reign of King Richard the Third. London: J. Dodsley, 1768. Reprint. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield; Yorkshire: EP Publishing, 1974. 134 pp.
  7. “England Under Richard III.” A Child’s History of England. Vol. 2. London: Bradbury and Evans, 1852-54, pp. 222-226. Reprint. Derek Hudson, intro. Centennial Edition. Geneva: Edito-Services; London: Hebron Books, 1970. Most adaptations of the story for children have followed Shakespeare’s version. In my opinion, this is not necessarily bad except when a commentator confuses the play with history, as J.C. Stobart typically did in his introduction to a BBC program of six plays adapted for children. Stobart declared that Thomas More was essentially correct in portraying Richard III as “the worst character who ever occupied the English throne in respect to systematic wickedness” (Shakespeare’s Monarchs. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1926, p. 128).
  8. History of the Life and Reign of Richard III, to which is Added The Story of Perkin Warbeck from Original Documents. A New and Revised Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1898. Reprint. New York: Greenwood Press, 1969. 388 pp.
  9. Richard III: His Life & Character Reviewed in Light of Recent Research. London: Smith, Elder, 1906. Reprint. New York: Russell and Russell, 1968. 327 pp.
  10. Daughter of Time. London: P. Davies; New York: Dell, 1951. 221 pp. In this detective novel, the protagonist, Scotland Yard detective Alan Grant, discovers through close reading of history and astute deduction that such historians as “the sainted More,” Gairdner, and other traditionalists were hopelessly biased in support of Tudor myth.
  11. “The Character of Richard III.” History Today, August 1954, 511-521.
  12. Richard the Third. New York: W.W. Norton, 1955. Reprint. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965; London: Sphere Books, 1973. 602 pp.
  13. Vol. 2 New York: Dodd, Mead, 1956. pp. 479-500. Reprint. History of the English-Speaking Peoples. Vol. 3. Edited by Sir Mortimer Wheeler, et al. London: BPC Publishing, 1969, pp. 947-957.
  14. “Richard III.” Shakespeare’s History Plays. London: Chatto & Windus, 1944, pp.198-214. Reprint. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1964; London: Chatto & Windus (paperback) 1980.
  15. “The Tragical Doings of Richard III.” Shakespeare’s “Histories”: Mirrors of Elizabethan Policy. San Marino, CA: The Huntington Library, 1947. pp. 306-334. Reprint. London: Methuen, 1980.
  16. “The Early Shakespeare.”The English History Play in the Age of Shakespeare. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1957, pp. 96-126. Revised Edition. New York: Octagon, 1965, pp. 92-122.
  17. The Ricardian: Journal of the Richard III Society, No. 1 (Oct. 1961) —
  18. “Correspondence.” The Ricardian: Journal of the Richard III Society. No. 27 (Dec. 1969): 21.
  19. “Halsted’s ‘Richard III’ (Chapter VIII)”. The Ricardian: Journal of the Richard III Society, No. 38 (Sept. 1972): 6-11. See above, Footnote 3.
  20. See “Introducing the Scholarship Committee: Dr. Milton Stern.” Ricardian Register (Official Publication of the American Branch) 20, No. 2 (Summer, 1986): 17. An almost casual allusion to More as the “malevolent” source of Shakespeare’s energetically unsound play, Richard III” creeps onto the page. With its official tone, the hasty generalization that the play is “unsound” coincidentally, but significantly, throws into relief the inquiry in the same issue as to whether a Ricardian considers Shakespeare’s play “historically sound.” See above, Footnote 1.
  21. Historic Doubts, p. 114.
  22. See A.L. Rowse, Bosworth Field and the Wars of the Roses. London: Macmillan, 1966. 317 pp. Also published as Bosworth Field: From Medieval to Tudor England. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966. Among academicians, Rowse has been the most vehement traditionalist. See also his edition of Works, in which he repeats his favorite thesis that Richard III was like Hitler and that More was correct in portraying Richard as a psychotic murderer (The Annotated Shakespeare. 3 vols. London: Orbis; New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1978.)
  23. “Richard the Third” Up to Shakespeare.” Palaestra. Vol. 10. Edited by Alois Brandl and Erich Schmidt. Berlin: Mayer and Muller, 1900. Reprint. Totowa, NJ: Rowman and Littlefield, 1976. 548 pp.
  24. “Richard III.” Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare. Vol. 3. Earlier English History Plays: “Henry VI”. “Richard III”. “Richard II. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul; New York: Columbia University Press, 1960. Reprint. New York: Columbia University Press, 1966, pp. 220-349.
  25. Many such comparisons have established the exact influence of the chronicles in Shakespeare’s Richard III. A good place to start would be W.G. Boswell-Stone, Shakespeare’s Holinshed: The Chronicle and the Historical Plays Compared. London: Lawrence and Bullen, 1896; Second Corrected Edition. London: Chatto & Windus, 1907. Reprint. New York and London: B. Blom, 1966; New York: Dover, 1968. 532 pp.
  26. Richard III. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1981. Reprint, 1983. 265 pp.
  27. For a typical study, see H.V.D. Dyson, “The Emergence of Shakespeare’s Tragedy.” Proceedings of the English Academy 36 (1951 for 1950): 69-73. Reprint. London: Oxford University Press, 1953. 25 pp.
  28. See H.B. Charlton. “Apprentice Pieces: Titus Andronicus, Richard III & Richard II.” Shakespearean Tragedy. London: Cambridge University Press, 1948. Reprint, 1949, 1952. pp. 18-48.
  29. “Richard III.” Shaw on Shakespeare: An Anthology of Bernard Shaw’s Writings on the Plays and Productions of Shakespeare. Edited by Edwin Wilson. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1961, pp.164-165. Reprint. New York: Penquin Shakespeare Library, 1969.
  30. “The Composition of the Clarence Scenes in Richard III.” Modern Language Review” 53 (1958): 211-214.
  31. “The ‘Aspiring Minds’: A Study of Shakespearean Characters Who Aspire to Political Sovereignty, Against the Background of Literary and Dramatic Tradition.” Ph.D. dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1958. 262 pp. Dissertation Abstracts, 19 (1958): 1365-66A.
  32. See William A. Armstrong, “The Influence of Seneca and Machiavelli on the Elizabethan Tyrant.” Review of English Studies 24 (1948): 10-35.
  33. “The Hybrid Image in Shakespeare.” Shakespeare and the Allegory of Evil: The History of a Metaphor in Relation to his Major Villains. New York: Columbia University Press, 1958, pp. 379-414.
  34. “Angel with Horns: The Unity of Richard III.” Angel with Horns. Edited by Graham Storey. London: Longmans, Green, 1961, pp. 1-22. Reprint. Shakespeare: The Histories: A Collection of Critical Essays. Edited by Eugene Wraith. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1965, pp.66-84.
  35. “The Grotesque Comedy of Richard III.” Studies in the Literary Imagination 5, No. 1 (April, 1972) 51-64
  36. “Richard III: Antecedents of Clarence’s Dream.” Shakespeare Survey 32 (1979): 145-150.
  37. See Nicholas Brooke. “Reflecting Gems and Dead Bones: Tragedy Versus History in Richard III.” Critical Quarterly 7 (1965): 123-134.
  38. See Richard Webster. “Two Hells: Comparison and Contrast Between Dante and Shakespeare With Particular Reference to Inferno, X, and Richard III, I.iv.” Nottingham Medieval Studies 18 (1974): 17-47.
  39. “The Misunderstood Dreams in the Plays of Shakespeare and His Contemporaries.” Essays in Honor of Walter Clyde Curry. Vanderbilt Studies in the Humanities, Vol. 2. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, 1954, pp.197-206.
  40. Clarence’s Traum and Ermordung (Shakespeare: “Richard III.” 1, 4) [Clarence’s Dream and Murder…]. Sitzungsberichte der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Philosophilisch-historische Klasse 5 (1955). Munich: Verlag der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1955. 46 pp.
  41. “Two Dreams in Elizabethan Drama, and their Heritage: Somnium Animale and the Prick-of-Conscience.” Studies in English Literature 7 (1967) 239-256.
  42. “‘Remember me’: Memento Mori Figures in Shakespeare’s Plays.” Renaissance Drama 12 (1981: 3-25.

About the Author

Dr. James A. Moore is Head of the English Department at Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas. He became a member of the Richard III Society in 1983 while researching his bibliography on Shakespeare’s Richard III (Garland, 1986). He admits he joined as a prerequisite to using the Society library. “Dr. Louis Marder advised me that I would be missing significant bibliography if I excluded the Ricardian materials (as all Shakespeare bibliographies have). He was correct.” The fact that Dr. Moore retained his membership and became active in the Society after publication of his bibliography speaks for itself. Professor Moore can be reached at james.moore@rampo.angelo.edu