Lees and Moonshine: Remembering Richard III, 1485-1635
University of Chicago Press
Not long after Shakespeare’s birth (1564) the last witnesses to the reign of Richard III (1483-85) would have reached the end of their lives. Richard III (c. 1592) occupies a distinctive historical moment in relation to its subject – a period after the extinction of living memory, but still within the horizon of communicative memory, the period in which stories and recollections may be transmitted across multiple generations. This essay explores how memories and “postmemories” of Richard’s reign were preserved, transmitted and transformed over the course of the sixteenth century and into the seventeenth. Whilst reflecting the powerful influence of emerging contexts including the Reformation and, ultimately, Shakespeare’s play, these memories remained distinct from and sometimes at odds with textual history. They survived because they offered their bearers a resource for interpreting and resisting the predicaments of the present, from the problem of tyranny to the legacies of the Reformation.
Published version of article deposited in accordance with Sherpa Romeo guidelines. © University of Chicago Press, 2010
Vol. 63, Issue 3
Place of publication