A Look at Josephine Tey and Whether History Tells the Truth

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The Daughter of Time Essay
The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey, is an eye-opening novel about finding the truth in history. In the book, the author cleverly reveals the truth about Richard III from the point of view of a police detective investigating a murder. The quote from Telling the Truth about History accurately reflects the ideas in Tey’s book. History is not just a collection of facts, but also a collection of stories told by people who themselves are influenced by others and events. Together with factual records, these stories eventually reveal the truth, and after the passing of time, can foster civility. In the context of The Daughter of Time, the truth about history must be revealed slowly in small doses, so that it can be digested and ultimately accepted as the truth.

An author’s point of view cannot be ignored when reading about events in history. “Even in a democracy, history always involves power and exclusion, for any history is always someone’s history, told by that someone from a partial point of view.” Even though everyone has the right to speak up, not everyone will speak, and those who do may only tell part of the story. In The Daughter of Time, Tey reveals that Henry VII greatly influenced what was written about his predecessor Richard III. The writers and historians living during the reign of Richard III, conveniently excluded or ignored certain facts because they wrote after his death “for the Tudors.” (98) Tey points out that historian John Morton greatly disliked Richard III and was a supporter of the Tudors (Henry VII’s family). (99) This made Morton’s account of events biased and inaccurate to the extent that “a completely untrue story [grew] to legend while the men who knew it to be untrue looked on and said nothing.” (104) This tactic, known as Tonypandy, allowed historians to influence others and achieve a desired end, such as painting Richard III to look like a murderous monster. By the end of the book, the detective is...
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