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It's also the case that for many readers, a historical novel might be their point of entry or perhaps their only real window into a particular period. Shouldn't authors therefore take care not to spread an "incorrect" version of what actually happened? Well, no, in my view, although I do agree with Churchwell on the paramount importance of meticulous research.

But novelists are not history teachers. It's not our job to educate people, and if we start using words like "duty" and "responsibility" about historical fiction — or any fiction — we're in danger of leaching all the vigour out of it with a sense of worthiness. A novelist has no real duty to anything except the story he or she is creating, the characters who inhabit it and whatever view of the world he or she is offering with the novel's ending.

But if you are going to play fast and loose with historical fact for the sake of a good story, you'd better have done your research thoroughly if you want readers to take you seriously; only then will you have the authority to depart from those facts. I have no problem with the idea of an author reinventing Abraham Lincoln as a vampire hunter, for example, as long as the fantasy is grounded in a knowledge of his biography and the book is well-written.

At least it's obvious to readers that it's made up. Far more irritating to me are films such as Becoming Jane , which seemed so taken with the idea of turning Jane Austen into one of her own romantic heroines that it brushed aside even the most basic understanding of Austen's life and circumstances. Ben Okri's Fiction Chris Ringrose 8. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in any newsletter.

For information on how we process your data, read our Privacy Policy. This website uses cookies to improve user experience. History plays also appear elsewhere in other western literature.


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The German authors Goethe and Schiller wrote a number of historical plays, including Goethe's Egmont , which is set in the 16th century, and is heavily influenced by Shakespearean tragedy, and Schiller's Mary Stuart , which depicts the last days of Mary, Queen of Scots This play formed the basis for Donizetti 's opera Maria Stuarda Beethoven wrote incidental music for Egmont. Published in , not long after the canonization of Joan of Arc by the Roman Catholic Church, the play dramatises what is known of her life based on the substantial records of her trial.

One of the most famous 20th-century history plays is The Life of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht which dramatises the latter period of the life of Galileo Galilei , the great Italian natural philosopher , who was persecuted by the Roman Catholic Church for the promulgation of his scientific discoveries; for details, see Galileo affair.

The play embraces such themes as the conflict between dogmatism and scientific evidence , as well as interrogating the values of constancy in the face of oppression. More recently British dramatist Howard Brenton has written several histories. He gained notoriety for his play The Romans in Britain , first staged at the National Theatre in October , which drew parallels between the Roman invasion of Britain in 54BC and the contemporary British military presence in Northern Ireland. Its concerns with politics were, however, overshadowed by controversy surrounding a rape scene.

Anne Boleyn is portrayed as a significant force in the political and religious in-fighting at court and a furtherer of the cause of Protestantism in her enthusiasm for the Tyndale Bible. One of the first operas to use historical events and people is Claudio Monteverdi 's L'incoronazione di Poppea , which was first performed in Venice during the carnival season. The opera was revived in Naples in , but was then neglected until the rediscovery of the score in , after which it became the subject of scholarly attention in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Since the s, the opera has been performed and recorded many times. George Frederick Handel also wrote several operas based on historical characters, including Giulio Cesare , Tamerlano and Rodelinda Historical subjects for operas also developed during the 19th century. Usually with 4 or 5 acts, they are large-scale casts and orchestras, and spectacular staging. All of these have some of the characteristics of size and spectacle that are normally associated with French grand opera.

Another important forerunner was Il crociato in Egitto by Meyerbeer , who eventually became the acknowledged king of the grand opera genre. Amongst the most important opera composers on historical topics are Giuseppe Verdi , and Richard Wagner. Russian composers also wrote operas based on historical figures, including Boris Godunov by Modest Mussorgsky — , which was composed between and , and is considered his masterpiece.

Equally famous is Alexander Borodin 's Prince Igor , the libretto for which the composer developed from the Ancient Russian epic The Lay of Igor's Host , which recounts the campaign of Rus prince Igor Svyatoslavich against the invading Cuman "Polovtsian" tribes in Historical reenactment is an educational or entertainment activity in which people follow a plan to recreate aspects of a historical event or period.

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This may be as narrow as a specific moment from a battle, such as the reenactment of Pickett's Charge presented during the Great Reunion of , or as broad as an entire period, such as Regency reenactment or The s Berlin Project. He interprets the advent of the "genuinely" historical novel at the beginning of the 19th century in terms of two developments, or processes. The first is the development of a specific genre in a specific medium—the historical novel's unique stylistic and narrative elements. The second is the development of a representative, organic artwork that can capture the fractures, contradictions, and problems of the particular productive mode of its time i.

Successful Historical Fiction – with Margaret McGoverne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Fiction that is set in the past. Not to be confused with Pseudohistory. Homo Homo erectus.

Near East Europe India China. Earliest records Protohistory. Early Later Contemporary.


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  6. Main article: Historical mystery. Main articles: Historical romance , Family saga , and Regency romance. Main articles: Nautical fiction and Pirates in popular culture. Main articles: Alternate history , Historical fantasy , and Alternate universe fan fiction. See also: Category:Children's historical novels. Main page: Category:Historical comics. Main article: Historical period drama. Main article: History theatrical genre. Main articles: grand opera and opera. Main article: Historical reenactment. Retrieved Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre.

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