Fiction, drama and verse

One of the more curious works of fiction about Simon de Montfort is the long Victorian poem The Brides of Dinan by Arthur Henry Winnington Ingram. The word Dinan recalls the Danish presence in the area of Ludlow, where the tale begins with a wolf hunt, oddly enough, that coincides with Edward’s escape. Henry de Montfort and a lass called Isabel are at the centre of this historical romance. His dying words to her, ‘A long adieu,Brides of Dinan my Isabel,’ are made all the more improbable coming from the mouth of Thomas de Clare. Ingram handles the grisly details of Evesham as well as can be expected and shows himself to be at least a better poet than Robert of Gloucester: ‘King Henry check’d his charger’s rein, and gazed upon the warriors slain; but when Earl Leicester’s corpse he spied among the dead, he deeply sigh’d. He who once filled my soul with dread, lo! in the dust he lieth dead.’

American authors account for most of the recent works in the fiction category. Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman is described as a ‘tapestry drenched in the color of its times, rich in drama and human foible. Filled with the stench of battle and the stink of betrayal, awash in intrigue and deception, it is a tale of lost hopes and broken dreams.’
Katherine Ashe has penned a four-volume work, starting with The Early Years, that Ashe 1‘explores Simon de Montfort’s life with the freedom of a novel, the motives and the possible actions and circumstances that could have brought about the known events can be offered. This is informed speculation and differs from other renderings of the subject. In the Historical Context section of each volume the author provides source references and the reasons for the causal thread of development that was chosen.’

Simon de Montfort play coverNot since a five-act play by Alfred Hayes appeared in the early twentieth century has Montfort’s life been seen on stage. Now comes along the four-act Simon de Montfort by Darren Baker of Simon 2014 that faithfully begins with the notorious churching and ends on the field of Evesham. Some liberties were obviously taken to accommodate all the action in between, but the scenes and characterizations were drawn as closely as possible to the sources and actual quotes were used throughout.  

 

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