What is Historical Fiction?

I have been rolling this over in the little gray cells and you can look for my comments in a separate post.

Thinking in Fragments

historicalfictionLike a number of other bloggers I am preparing to start the Coursera MOOC, Plagues, Witches and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction and one of the papers suggested as prior reading before the lectures begin has set me wondering what exactly fits into the category of historical fiction.

Perry Anderson’s essay, From Progress to Catastrophe, first published in the London Review of Books, takes a broad look at the genre from the earliest days of its inception through to the present day and while all the usual suspects are discussed in respect of the period up to the 1950s and 60s some of the more recent novels he mentions took me by surprise.

One of the reasons I decided to take this course was that I have always considered myself to have a problem with historical fiction.  Probably this is because I grew up in the 50s and 60s…

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