In Defense of Historical Fiction Essay

In Defense of Historical Fiction Essay

Length: 1324 words (3.8 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The genre of historical fiction novels can be subdivided into many categories and often crosses genres, such as historical mysteries and romances. The traditional definition of the historical fiction genre is “fiction set in the past” where the author is writing from research rather than personal experience. This definition leaves a lot of room for interpretation, controversy, and contradiction. Critics in the media, even when they praise individual historical novels in their reviews, somehow manage to turn this praise into criticism of the genre as a whole. In 1950, author Howard Fast, a historical novelist himself, wrote: “This is an era of many historical novels, few of them good and very few indeed which have more than a nodding acquaintance with fact.” (Johnson, Fast criticizes historical fiction authors by saying most examples of the genre are based more on fiction and imagination rather than actual historical fact. At first glance, historical fiction novels might appear to be detrimentally numerous and disrespected for taking imaginative liberties presenting actual historical fact, but with a closer look it becomes apparent there are many examples of good historical fiction where the author centers the tales not on the historical setting but on the plot which educates the reader to better understand themes and life in the past, as well as, through the use of imagination gives plausible explanations of mysterious or unknown events.
While I agree it is true historical novels have the reputation of being costume period dramas, in which the author’s need to cram all the prodigious research into a single novel sometimes overwhelms the plot; I would like to point out history has produced many his...

... middle of paper ...

...elieve if readers give the genre a chance they can learn about past events, themes, and ways of life while at the same time enjoying a fictional story. The most successful novels of this genre are ones where the author uses his/her imagination to weave a believable plot and create characters who manage to transcend time and speak to us from their own perspective in a way which educates readers about the culture of life in the past.

Works Cited

Johnson, Sarah. “What are the Rules for Historical Fiction?” n.d.

Twain, Mark. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. New York: Charles L. Webster & Co, 1884.

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. The Little House on the Prairie. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 1937. Print.
Follett, Ken. Lie Down with Lions. Tiptree, Colchester Essex, U.K: Signet Publishers, 1986. Print.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Defense Of Poesy : An Art Form And Imagination Essay

- Hannah Weinberg March 30th, 2016 ENG 252 The Defense of Poesy: An Art Form and Imagination Sidney’s The Defense of Poesy is considered a great Elizabethan literary criticism. It illustrates a vivid defense of fiction against its critics and creates a lasting impression on how we view literature in today’s world. “Poesy” or poetry is about fiction and Sidney’s defense is about the separation of fiction and song before the Enlightenment. Sidney’s argument is that poesy is an art form created for educating and showing audiences the world of creativity and imagination that is different than historical and philosophical works....   [tags: Literature, Fiction, Sonnet, Poetry]

Strong Essays
1598 words (4.6 pages)

In Defense Of Heart Of Darkness Essay

- In Defense of "Heart of Darkness", and in Attack of Those Who Attack it on the Basis of Racism "I don't want to bother you much with what happened to me personally,' [Conrad] began, showing in this remark the weakness of many tellers of tales who seem so often unaware of what their audience would most like to hear" (Conrad, 9). Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad's best-known work, has been examined on many bases – more than I can possibly list here, but including imperialism, colonialism, and racism....   [tags: Joseph Conrad]

Free Essays
1082 words (3.1 pages)

Essay about The Historical Events Found in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

- ... In school, Scout tries to defend Walter Cunningham, a son in the Cunningham family, and explains that “Walter Cunningham was sitting there lying his head off. He didn’t forget his lunch, he didn’t have any. He had none today nor would he have any tomorrow or the next day. He had probably never seen three quarters together at the same time in his life.” (Lee 26). The Cunningham family is a dramatic example of the daily struggle of everyone in town to live a decent life. Harper Lee used this idea in her writing because it shows the everyday person had little to no influence on events that were occurring in America because of the state of the economy and quality of life....   [tags: hardships, corruptions, mindset]

Strong Essays
672 words (1.9 pages)

Abraham Lincoln 's Appearance On A Popular Science Fiction Television Show

- Abraham Lincoln was the son of a Kentucky frontiersman, a captain during the Black Hawk War, an Illinois politician, and President during the American Civil War. In 1865 he was assassinated, stopping his contributions to reconstruction after the Civil War (Freidel & Sidney, 2006). Therefore, the crew of the starship Enterprise are surprised to encounter him floating in space in the 23rd Century in the seventy seventh episode of Star Trek, “The Savage Curtain” (Roddenberry & Heinemann, 1969). A contemporary viewer might share in their surprise....   [tags: American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Star Trek]

Strong Essays
863 words (2.5 pages)

The Historical Fiction Of Ernest Hemingway Essay

- Throughout the twentieth century a wide variety of novels began to hit the shelves of bookstores in America. Books written about anything from dystopian futures to memoirs of recent years past filled the bookshelves of Americans during the time period. Historical fiction seems to be the most significant of these genres, however, as it teaches people of the past to educate them for a better future. Men learn from their past mistakes, and when man’s mistakes are told as tales, one is more inclined to listen if the story entertains him....   [tags: Fiction, Literature, Novel, American literature]

Strong Essays
1785 words (5.1 pages)

Essay on Defense Of Drones : A Historical Argument

- Drones represent something that is both wholly new and wholly old. Wholly new, because for the first time in human history, technology has allowed the soldier (or airman) doing the killing to entirely removed from physical danger, safely ensconced within an air-conditioned trailer on the outskirts of Las Vegas. While drones have caused an entirely new asymmetry or disparity in force, they are only an expression of one of the fundamental tenants of warfare, that a military force seeks to vanquish their opposition from the field with as little human cost to their own side as possible....   [tags: World War II, War, Colonialism, Army]

Strong Essays
1001 words (2.9 pages)

There's No Defense for Affluenza Essay

- "The Affluenza Defense: Judge Rules Rich Kid’s Rich Kid-ness Makes Him Not Liable for Deadly Drunk Driving Accident" -- Madison Gray, The relationship between motive and consequence is a complex one, and is made even more debatable when context becomes involved. Throughout our judicial history, the line between responsibility and exemption remains razor-thin in its subjectivity. If a woman murders her husband, but was abused by him for years, why is this considered different from a murder where the perpetrator wasn’t abused....   [tags: The Affluenza Defense]

Strong Essays
1956 words (5.6 pages)

End of The British Rule in India: Historical Fiction Essay

- History is all around us. Everywhere we are, everywhere we have been or ever will be is what it is because of the people and events that have affected and effected it. But sometimes events transpire that are so huge, learning about them through a traditional manner such as history classes or nonfiction books does not work. Sometimes history needs to be absorbed through fiction, more specifically, through historical fiction. Events such as the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the fall of the British Empire and subsequent removal from India, the emergence of Pakistan as a self-determined nation, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks are such events....   [tags: hiroshima, nagasaki, bombing]

Strong Essays
1805 words (5.2 pages)

A Tale of Two Cities- A Historical fiction Essays

- A Tale of Two Cities- A Historical fiction A Tale of Two Cities is a novel categorized as historical fiction. Historical fiction is a composite material, with a portion of history embedded in a matrix of fiction. A Tale of Two Cities is appropriately titled, as the novel is the story of England and Revolutionary France; as a result it can be categorized as historical fiction. A Tale of Two Cities is parallel to history in many different respects. The English setting, and atmosphere, is similarly portrayed, as it actually existed in the seventeenth century....   [tags: English Literature Essays]

Strong Essays
1883 words (5.4 pages)

Essay about The Defense Mechanism

- Defense mechanism, in psychoanalysis, any of a variety of unconscious personality reactions which the ego uses to protect the conscious mind from threatening feelings and perceptions. Sigmund Freud first used defense as a psychoanalytic term (1894), but he did not break the notion into categories, viewing it as a singular phenomenon of repression. His daughter, Anna Freud, expanded on his theories in the 1930s, distinguishing some of the major defense mechanisms recognized today. Primary defense mechanisms include repression and denial, which serve to prevent unacceptable ideas or impulses from entering the conscience....   [tags: Defense Mechanisms]

Strong Essays
3474 words (9.9 pages)