Back to Top

Tag Archives: Folger

I have been avidly following the news about the discovery and identity of the remains of Richard III. I’ve been a sucker for Richard III ever since reading Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time--without going so far as to join the Richard III Society or anything (here’s the US R3 Society). I’m already mightily distracted from writing.

This month I attended a couple of events at the Folger, a fantastic resource in Washington DC that those of us who live here tend to take for granted. First, a lecture from the forensic and archaeological team, and then I saw the current production of Richard III which I highly recommend. Here are some interesting snippets from the lecture:

  • The team is doing further DNA analysis from tooth tartar (eew).
  • Richard III would probably have gone down in history, had the Tudors not taken over, as a just but fair king (the um, issue, of the two princes in the Tower would have been downplayed, just as the Tudors, and Shakespeare, propagandized Richard as a misshapen spawn of Satan).
  • Yes, he did have scoliosis. But he was also a seasoned warrior. The BBC (I think) is doing an experiment with a young man with the same degree of scoliosis teaching him horseback warfare, wearing armor, and so far so good. Expect a documentary or two.

Edmund Kean as Richard IIIIn the Regency, Richard III was one of Edmund Kean’s signature roles but he had a rival–Junius Brutus Booth, father of John Wilkes Booth. Booth’s London career was launched in 1817 in the title role of Richard III at Covent Garden, and thereafter Boothites and Keanites frequently quarreled in theaters. Booth and Kean seem to have both exploited the rivalry, often performing in the same plays.

battle2richardsBooth emigrated to the US in 1821 where he led a colorful life as an actor, and is buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore, where Betsy Bonaparte also lies.

Once again truth is stranger than fiction.

What’s your take on Richard III?

I’m not a great fan of new year’s resolutions because I think they’re asking for trouble and disappointment, but there are some things I’d like to accomplish this year (in addition to the big fat sales).

One is to go and see this exhibit, Marketing Shakespeare, at the Folger Shakespeare Library. The exhibit opened in September. It ends on Saturday so unless I can scoot off from work early tomorrow, I must go Saturday morning. The exhibit is of Shakespeare-inspired artwork from the fashionable Boydell Gallery (1789-1805), plus tchotchkes and Shakespeare souvenirs. The illustration below, courtesy of the Folger, is a colored engraving of As You Like It from 1800. One of my resolutions, were I to use the term which I’m not, is to go to more stuff–I live near Washington DC where we have all sorts of amazing free museums and exhibits, yet the amazing thing is I hardly ever go to any of them. I’m not alone–living here, you take it for granted that the museums will always be there, and if you miss an exhibit, you’ll be able to catch something equally good the next week, or month.

But this is also tied into my other resolution, which is to put the joy back in writing. I tried Julia Cameron’s The Artists Way technique–I even have the books somewhere–but anything which requires me having to get up early is doomed. One task she suggested, of which I approve highly, is to take yourself out on cultural expeditions, and that’s something I plan to do much more. And if it has some weird side benefit of cranking up my writing and enjoyment level thereof, well, I’m not complaining.

And what else for 2008? Well, obviously, much less of this sort of thing (yum). But I’d rather concentrate on the positive–on giving and enjoying rather than denying. And hopefully writing will be one of the activities I’ll enjoy. I must say I like it well enough once I’ve got going, but getting going is the problem. One technique I use is to absolutely ignore word/page count and just write; you can always format later. There’s something very seductive about the getting ready to fix starting to prepare to …[insert your favorite procrastinatory phrase]… write; no wonder so many people claim they’ve always wanted to write a book, happy in the knowledge that they probably never will.

What are your new year’s resolutions (if any?)–or whatever you want to call them?

Get a generous quota of calorie-free whipped cream every month via the Riskies newsletter; send an email with NEWSLETTER in the header to All contests all the time–enter to win a signed copy of Jane Lockwood’s Forbidden Shores in a contest sponsored by Pam Rosenthal ; and read an alternate ending to The Rules of Gentility and enter to win a prize at

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 9 Replies
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By