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Picture of Narrative is the Essence of History

Narrative is the Essence of History

Essays on the Historical Novel

Editor(s): John Cameron
Contributors: Rebecca Powers, Darren J. Dyck, Hamish Dalley, Clay Anderson, Michelle Buchberger, david Irving, Katherine Polak,

Book Description

The historical novel has had a very interesting history itself. During the 19th century the historical novels of Scott, Hugo, Thackeray, Dickens, Tolstoy and a host of other writers enjoyed both popular success and critical admiration. Success has never really died out, but admiration has been another matter. During the 20th century, historical fiction began to be disparaged by critics who looked down on the genre and its elements of romance, adventure and swashbuckling. This disparagement reached such a pitch that Robert Graves, author of I, Claudius and Claudius the God, felt compelled to say that he wrote these novels only because of pressing financial needs. As the century wore on, the genre began to move in a variety of interesting ways and reached even larger audiences. Some critics have continued to look down on the genre, but a growing number of historical novels have begun to receive wide critical praise. The Roman historian Ronald Syme once wrote that narrative is the essence of history. What is the essence of historical fiction? Why does it continue to be such a popular and resilient genre? What is the history of historical fiction? What is its future?


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-3776-7
ISBN-10: 1-4438-3776-8
Date of Publication: 01/05/2012
Pages / Size: 170 / A5
Price: £34.99


John Cameron, PhD, teaches literature at Saint Mary’s University. His field is Early Modern Drama and his doctoral dissertation focuses on Shakespeare’s English History plays in relation to the works of Niccolò Machiavelli and politic stratagems. His article on Umberto Eco’s Il cimitero di Praga was recently published in Otherness: Essays and Studies and he has also recently contributed a chapter on 2 Henry VI to Kenneth Womack and William Baker’s five-volume Companion to Shakespeare.