Ricardian women, mythogenesis, and webbing: Analysis and application of rhetorical principles of the historical novel in Rosemary Jarman's ricardian cycle
The classic definition of the historical novel largely ignores modern women--centered historical novels which move in cyclic, non-linear fashion and create webs of narrative which interact intertextually. The current study looks at a modern cycle of historical novels (Rosemary Jarman's ricardian novels) in terms of rhetorical strategies the author uses to create presence in the service of dianoia.
The first chapter sets up the premises of the study. It also defines the ricardian canon (those elements always included in novels dealing with Richard III and his circle) and discusses the historic sources which provide the basis of ricardian Matter.
The second chapter looks in detail at five historic ricardian women (Cecily Neville, Jacquetta of Bedford, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne Neville, and the unknown woman who bore Richard's illegitimate daughter). The chapter demonstrates the semiotic process which creates fictive personae by means of a meld between fact, innuendo, and outright lies. The chapter then surveys various fictive treatments of the five historic women.
The third chapter focuses on Rosemary Jarman's ricardian novels and demonstrates strategies she uses to embody skeletal historic personae as fully realized characters.
The fourth chapter examines Jarman's use of the Goddess (Maiden, Mother, and Crone) and how these archetypes interact through mythogenesis and semiotic webbing.
The fifth chapter summarizes the study and suggests possibilities for further scholarly research on historical novels.
An appendix, The Historical Novelist and the Web of Wyrd, utilizes the same techniques to show how another linear narrative form (the quest) can be adapted to the cyclic variant, and how this narrative can form an intertextual relationship with Jarman's cycle and hence with the ricardian canon. The intertextual relationship between the two is demonstrated in each of the chapters.