Tuesday, April 04, 2017

History and fiction …

… Informal Inquiries: Facts or Fictions: the problems of historical novels.

It's all reconstruction to some extent. Historical novels, it seems to me, fail if they don't work as fiction. True, they have to be historically plausible. But no one reads Scaramouche to learn about the French Revolution. I guess the ones I've mostly read are those I read when I was young. I suppose Robert Louis Stevenson's The Black Arrow is a historical novel. I loved it. But history itself is not science. Most historians have a point of view that goes beyond any merely documentary aim.

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