‘The Daughter of Time’

The Daughter of Time: Josephine Tey, Derek Jacobi: 9781602836440:  Amazon.com: Books

The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey has been called one of the greatest mystery novels ever written, and it lives up to that billing. It also gives us plenty to think about.

“History” has it that Richard III was a humpbacked monster who murdered his innocent nephews, among other crimes. Josephine Tey has a hospitalized police detective and a research assistant delve into the matter as if it were a modern police investigation: and what they find is that almost the entire history of Richard, almost everything that people “know” about him… is flat-out false. And can be proven to be false!

That’s a major theme of this book. How do things that are demonstrably untrue get entered into the record as “true”, and why do they remain in the record even after they’ve been shown to be untrue–shown again and again, in some cases?

Richard was overthrown and killed in battle by Henry Tudor, Henry VII, father of that bloodthirsty king, Henry VIII. Henry Tudor had all the motivation in the world to destroy Richard’s reputation and plenty of rascals to help him do it. Even Shakespeare! So we know how Richard’s name got blackened, and we know whodunnit. What we don’t know is why it stayed blackened: Josephine Tey was only one of many historical inquirers who exploded the myth.

Lies can have a long shelf life.

Can you imagine what will be done to President Trump’s reputation, should Democrats win this coming election (God forbid)? Can you imagine the lurid tall tales about him that’ll wind up in the “history” textbooks?

The truth about Richard III has been available for many years now.  But the lies are all still there.

8 comments on “‘The Daughter of Time’

    1. He should never have pardoned Stanley, who betrayed him once and would betray him again fatally at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

    2. Exactly the same thing happened at the battle of Sekigehara in Japan, thus creating the Tokugawa Shogunate. The two battles are eerily similar.
      Letting Stanley off the hook was a fatal error.
      Julius Caesar pardoned some of the same men who murdered him a little later.

  1. I love “The Daughter of Time.” I first read it in college, when studying Shakespeare’s history plays got me fascinated with the Wars of the Roses. I and two of my friends became ardent Ricardians after reading the book (and a couple of other pro-Richard books as well as a lot of the anti-Richard literature), and I even belonged to the Richard III Society for a number of years.

    But the lies will always be with us. For a while in the 1990s I did extensive research on the building of the Vietnam veteran stereotype — I’m a Vietnam veteran myself — and I was appalled at the lies that had been promulgated both about us and about the war itself. Of course, after I’d spent six years on this research, with many publications and even more talks on the lecture circuit, the Chair of my department reminded me sternly that I’d been hired as a Renaissance specialist and it would be appreciated if I went back to doing Renaissance research. But the Vietnam research was fascinating while it lasted. I did my best to explode the myths. And yet, the stereotype and the lies linger on.

    By the way, I highly recommend B.J. Burkett’s book, “Stolen Valor,” about fake Vietnam vets and the stereotypes they helped build. It’s a good read in addition to everything else. And (ahem) he uses some of my research in his chapter(s) on phony PTSD stories.

  2. The Left & MSM (same thing) haven’t used the race card against Trump lately but give them time. It came out today that Donald J. Trump used to date a black woman – doesn’t sound very racist to me.

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