Short stories about Richard III
A Novel
By Els Launspach

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.

elslaunspach.nl/english

 

Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall on Richard Revisited:

'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.'

If you love Shakespeare, you will enjoy Richard Revisited, an historical novel about King Richard III


For centuries Richard III counted as the villainous murderer of his young nephews and usurper of his brother's throne. But how much of this reputation was born of the facts, and how much resulted from political urgency of the Tudors? Within the frame of the discovery of the king's skeleton in Leicester, Richard Revisited offers a poignant image of three inquisitive minds caught up in an age-old struggle. The statesman Thomas More, Master of the Revels George Buc, and lastly Jennifer Simpson, witness in the Trial of Richard III broadcast in 1984. In their efforts to be true to themselves each risks either humiliation or loss of integrity. 

Unfolding the action, this controversial novel questions the sources Shakespeare used while writing his famous history-play about the last Plantagenet king. To what extent did the dramatist falsify the facts?

In this book the following questions will be raised:

- did Thomas More regret his Portrait of King Richard III?
- who ordered the young princes to be murdered?
- for what reason was Hastings executed?
- did Richard's marriage to Ann Neville produce a son?
- was Shakespeare careless or opportunist?
- and who was Shakespeare?

REVIEWS

Het Nederlands Dagblad, 25-4-2008:

'There is a great reward for the reader’s persistence, absorbing Messire by Els Launspach. The novel offers an intriguing web of themes, among them subjectivity in the process of writing history. Launspach shows convincingly that History does not exist, only a certain balance of interests. (…)

Fresh and surprising is how this novel portrays the last days of Thomas More, reflecting on his life while the souls of the dead surround him. His doubts become torments when he is visited by a young woman, grandchild of the very statesman who has once guided his first steps into the professional world. The prisoner and his young female visitor have different ambitions. The discovery of a long forgotten quarto in which his superior privately has mentioned some names, jeopardizes Mores peace of mind and there follows an investigation of the self, an agony which is ended only by his execution. (…)

Launspach´s game with fact and fiction is clever and exciting. (…)'

Trouw, 24-5-2008:

The novel begins with a splendid part on Thomas More (…) He looks back with remorse on several issues concerning his ambition, fearing that he will be cleansed in purgatory. His swansong contains passionate remarks. ´Here he had finally understood that his obstinacy and doubt went hand in hand, like a pair of horses galloping as one.´ Impressive discernment follows. Every argument exonerating Richard makes him (Thomas More) the more guilty. And there is really something at stake, his integrity and spiritual welfare. History and literature are entangled in this first part brilliantly.

 

'Crisp and fresh - The totally unexpected becomes the hook in this brilliant character-driven novel. But don't think for a minute that no action occurs. We all know that they have found Richard III's remains, in the most unlikely venue. Here we see the now, the then, and history blends itself accurately with the present. If you like quality action, historical and character-driven novels based on new findings. This is the book to read. Els Lauspach has done an excellent job. The pace is fast. A novel written in the present tense, to the point that the past, Thomas Moores' past, comes alive. It's a definite must-read for those who like this fascinating genre.'- Reader review Amazon.co.uk

 

'Creative! You will find this to be a creative and enchanting book to read. It mixes the complex history of Shakespeare, Thomas More and Richard III and puts a new angle to their life. You will find how the political thoughts of the Tudors impacted history. Readers will enjoy the characters in this story line, and how they interact with each other. Good descriptions of the environment, and the plot will keep you guessing what comes next. I like how the book gives you intricate details of history, which weaves nicely into the story line. What really did happen long ago? Find out what happens in the controversial novel!' - Reader review Amazon.co.uk 

 

Additional Information :

Published 2014 - Complete English translation

ISBN: 9789064037986 - 280 pages, paperback & ebook

World Rights Available (incl. World English)

KvK nr.:  60491833

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