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February 05, 2013 12:06 PM Crookback Dick

By Mark Kleiman

So the body of Richard III has been found, buried under a parking lot. (Jimmy Hoffa is still missing.) There’s no evidence of the withered arm portrayed by Shakespeare.

Oddly, though, there is evidence of severe scoliosis. Tudor literature portrayed him as hunchbacked, but contemporary documents make no mention of it, and the portraits show him as entirely upright. Score one for oral tradition over the written record.

Footnote Josephine Tey wrote wonderful mystery novels, and The Daughter of Time is a marvelously convincing presentation of the case for Richard’s innocence, but his nephews disappeared from public sight under his control and never reappeared. Guilty, on mine honor.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.
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