Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Good Story 156: The Daughter of Time

After a bizarre podcasting accident leaves Julie and Scott in the hospital, the nurses confiscate their copies of The Daughter of Time to stop them arguing about Richard III. It doesn't work. Episode 156.

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  1. I remember not having any idea what to expect from this book, other than that I enjoyed some of her other novels. I do wonder how she pitched this one? There is no action and everything takes place in a hospital room. Not only that the majority of characters are historical. So I was amazed at how enthralling this novel was. Really it was exciting piecing together the clues. Just as a mystery this was great. But the added layer regarding seeking the truth and the philosophical aspects made this transcend the genre.

    It especially resonated with me as I had already developed a skeptical view towards history and what "everybody know is true". Part of that was what I called "The Church that didn't bark" and the total absence of the Church in all the history I was taught. It was as if she never existed in history at all or at the minimum had zero influence over events.

    So the retelling of history into a narrative and then compounding it with confirmation bias is what we should expect. Which is why I prefer histories that are more warts and all.

    British history is also not my specialty, but am interested in it. Last year I read "Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen" by Anna Whitelock which was excellent. Her branding as Bloody Mary was pretty much all narrative, especially as compared to other queens.

    Oh and another aspect you touched on was regarding eyewitnesses. Now eyewitness accounts hold much less credibility. But it is a certain aspect of eyewitness accounts that we should be credulous about, but not to group them all the same way. A couple of years ago I received a gift of "Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony" by Richard Bauckham, a Protestant scholar. Not the sort of book I would have searched out. Yet it turned out to be one I totally loved and one that opened up the issue of what the eyewitness testimonies to Jesus actually meant. So often the "Telephone game" seems to be the single example of how information gets passed on. Which is totally irrelevant to how information was passed on in the ancient world and even some areas today. Just about everything about this book is excellent and it opens the Gospels once again by explaining what it means when a particular name is mentioned or why earlier accounts left this information out. It also ends with a an overview on research into memory occurring now. So highly recommended and others such as Jimmy Akin, Mark Shea, Tom MacDonald agree.

    1. I have requested Jesus and the Eyewitnesses from the library. It sounds amazing.

    2. Yes, thanks Jeff. I'm on the hunt for a copy as well.

  2. Great show, I loved the book and your discussion! Though I want to say I saw that Simon Schama BBC History of Britain while we lived in England and he skipped over the War of the Roses! He said something like, "Every school child has to memorize long lists of names, dates, and battlefields--let's go to the end with Henry VII and the beginning of the Tudors." I hope they added in something for the American broadcast! Scott, you might be interested in seeing Al Pacino's documentary "Looking for Richard" about performing Shakespeare's play for a contemporary audience in America--I remember it being fascinating and the theater angle is probably right up your alley.

    1. Hi Joseph! Thanks a million for this - I will definitely look for it. There's an interesting website where Ian McKlellan talks about Richard III. Find it here: http://www.stageworkmckellen.com/

      I will find and watch "Looking for Richard" - thanks again!