The Story of a Long Lost King
By Els Launspach
Click cover to find more information & Chapter on Thomas More
Els Launspach (1951) is a theatre critic and writer. She graduated at the Univ. of Amsterdam (MA) and has worked in the political theatre and at Mickery Theatre (Ritsaert ten Cate). She has published widely on theatre, art, mimetic theory and screenwriting.
Launspach is regarded a specialist on Greek tragedy and Shakespeare, lecturing all over the country and teaching at the Amsterdam School of the Arts. Over the years she has written seven novels for young people and three for adults. She lives in Haarlem, The Netherlands.
'Though Richard III ruled England for only two years, his short life and violent death in battle make him one of the most controversial of English kings. He is a deeply divisive and interesting figure. He attracts fierce enemies and fierce partisans, and since his death over five hundred years ago, the controversy has hardly cooled. Did he have a rightful claim to the English throne? Did he kill his young nephews in order to become king? If not, who did? Or perhaps they were not killed at all? It is difficult to separate myth from historical reality, and each of Richard’s defenders and detractors has a version of their own. Els Launspach is alive to all the ambiguities of this story. She has researched deeply, and works with the paradoxes and puzzles of the era to produce an intelligent, multi-layered and very individual book.'
King Richard III, whose remains were recently discovered under a car park in Leicester, is traditionally seen as a tyrant, child murderer and usurper of the English throne. But how much of his reputation is true to the facts; how much of it is propaganda inspired by the first Tudor king and perpetuated by Shakespeare down through the centuries?
Opening with the spectacular findings in 2012, the Dutch theatre critic and author Els Launspach portrays the intense dilemma’s of three writers on history’: the statesman and philosopher. Thomas More, the 17th century Master of the Revels George Buc and lastly Jennifer Simpson, a witness in the Trial of Richard III devised and broadcast by London Weekend Television in 1984. What truth should they serve? The immediate pressures of political expediency and public opinion, or a more personal truth?
Els Launspach offers a moving picture of individuals caught up in an age-old struggle. In their efforts to be true to themselves, the three main characters risk either humiliation or loss of integrity. In the same way the novel questions the material Shakespeare used while writing The Tragedy of King Richard III, the play which nowadays largely defines our pattern of thinking.
At a time when politicians and spin doctors are fashioning their own version of the past to justify their policy in the present, Richard Revisited offers a bittersweet reflection on the agony of personal choices. History matters. Our views on the past shape our understanding of the world, our beliefs and our actions. But what if the official version of events is wrong?
April 2021 - In the meantime….
Filming has started on The Lost King, a scenario about how the bones of Richard III were found beneath a car park. The movie, produced by Steve Coogan's production company Baby Cow Productions, has been written by Coogan and Jeff Pope, and is directed by Stephen Frears (the same team made the award-winning 2013 feature Philomena).
The Lost King focuses on the story of Philippa Langley, the amateur historian and secretary of the Scottish branch of the Richard III Society whose passion and drive pushed the project forward - despite objection and ridicule from historians and academics. The king, killed in the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, was successfully exhumed in 2012. Oscar-nominated The Shape of Water star Sally Hawkins has joined the cast impersonating Philippa Langley in this remarkable 2012 true story of finding King Richard III’s remains under a Leicester car park. Steve Coogan will co-star in the film as Langley’s husband.
Het Nederlands Dagblad:
The novel offers an intriguing web of themes, among them the subjectivity inherent in writing history. Launspach shows convincingly that history does not exist. only a certain balance of interests. (...) Launspach's game with fact and fiction is clever and exciting.
History and literature are brilliantly entangled.
Additional Information :
Complete English translation - 280 pages
Rights: World (incl. World English)
(c) By VeteranMP - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
King Richard III & Ann Neville
Glas in lood, Cardiff Castle