Saturday, July 1, 2017

Why Do I Deserve Your Help?

To give some idea why I think I deserve to travel to the UK to do research, consider that I'm probably the most thorough biographer of William Longsword to date.

The extant biographies of him are very short and many are out of date or contain inaccurate information. Even firsthand sources on him are incredibly scant.

 Even though he was probably equal in importance to William Marshal, nobody bothered to write a biography of him back in the Middle Ages like they did with Marshal. And yet, he's a common figure in pop culture.

During my research I discovered that he is a very popular recurring figure in historical romances, from Shakespeare's "King John" to recent historical fiction novels like Chadwick's "To Defy A King." The gap between his importance in history and culture and the amount of material about him is something I plan to remedy.

I've literally doubled the length of the Britannica article simply by gleaning disparate sources but there is still a lot I don't know. Some of the firsthand sources may exist and be cataloged, but may be in Latin. I need to photograph these and attempt to translate them with the scant Latin I know. I also need to speak to archivists and historians about what they know and where to find more leads.  I also need to get photographs of places he frequented so that I don't have to pay for stock photos, which could save me tons of money.

 More than that, though, I want to get a feel for his world. Going to the places where history happened always makes it easier to write about. You can read clues in buildings and landscapes that can shed light on historical narratives.

 I'm fast on my way to writing a masterwork of biography on a medieval figure who had a significant impact on history and popular culture. But I need help to complete my work.

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