HIGH POINT, N.C., March 3, 2010 — Dr. Jim Casey, assistant professor of English at High Point University, recently published a chapter, titled “?Richard’s himself again': The Body of Richard III on Stage and Screen” for McFarland’s “Shakespeare and the Middle Ages: Essays on the Performance and Adaptation of the Plays with Medieval Sources or Settings,” edited by Martha W. Driver and Sid Ray.
Casey’s essay is the first chapter in the critical collection; it analyzes the most important stage and screen depictions of King Richard III from the 1950s to the present, beginning with Laurence Olivier’s incredibly influential performance and ending with the un-hunchbacked villain of Scott Anderson’s 2007 independent film. Using the wooing scene as a moment of important juxtaposition, Casey discusses the myriad interpretations of Richard’s (ahistorical) hunchbacked body, from Tudor propaganda to psychological metaphor.
“I’ve always been fascinated by Richard,” Casey says. “Historically and dramatically, he’s an intriguing character. We often think of him as a humpbacked murderer, but there is ample evidence that he had no hunchback and that he may have been innocent of the princes’ murder. Similarly, Richard’s wooing of Anne in the play (literally over the dead body of her father in law) is an audacious act of self-promotion: ?I’ll have her,’ Richard says, ?but I will not keep her long.’ Historically, however, he may have married Anne Neville for love. But because Shakespeare is Shakespeare, most people only know of the monster.”
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