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Written by Virginia
(3/15/2009 6:01 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, The Name Richard, penned by BarbaraB
I am reading the Penguin Classics edition of NA, edited with an introduction by Marilyn Butler. This is the note on "though his name was Richard:" A mysterious assertion, unless it is partly explained by Austen's juvenile History of England, from the reign of Henry IV to the death of Charles I by a partial, prejudiced and ignorant Historian. Briefly, this burlesque History relies almost entirely on well-known literary sources, notably Shakespeare's history plays and Sophia Lee's romantic historic novel about Mary Queen of Scots, "The Recess: Or a Tale of Other Times" (1785). Rejecting Shakespeare's bias and adopting Lee's, Austen takes as the villains of her narrative the Tudors or House of Lancaster, especially Mary's arch enemy Elizabeth. Hence the sympathetic treatment of Richard III: "as he was a York, I am inclined to suppose him a very respectable man."
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