Historical fiction

Historical fiction

Historical fiction is a sub-genre of fiction that often portrays alternate accounts or dramatization of historical figures or events. Stories in this genre, while fictional, make an honest attempt at capturing the spirit, manners, and social conditions of the person or time they represent with attention paid to detail and fidelity. [http://www.britannica.com/search?query=historical+fiction&ct= Search Results for historical fiction - Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] Historical fiction is found in books, magazines, ["See, e.g.", Paradox Magazine, which publishes short stories in the historical fiction sub-genre.] art, television, movies, games, theater, and other media.


Historical fiction presents readers with a story that takes place during a notable period in history, and usually during a significant event in that period.

Historical fiction often presents actual events from the point of view of people living in that time period.

In some historical fiction, famous events appear from points of view not recorded in history, showing historical figures dealing with actual events while depicting them in a way that is not recorded in history. Other times, the historical event complements a story's narrative, occurring in the background while characters deal with events (personal or otherwise) wholly unrelated to recorded history. Sometimes, historical fiction can be for the most part true, but the names of people and places have been in some way altered.

As this is fiction, artistic license is permitted in regard to presentation and subject matter, so long as it does not deviate in significant ways from established history. If events should deviate significantly, the story may then fall into the genre of alternate history, which is known for speculating on what could have happened if a significant historical event had gone differently. On a similar note, events occurring in historical fiction must adhere to the laws of physics. Stories that extend into the magical or fantastic are often considered historical fantasy.


Historical literature includes the works of authors that epitomize a specific period in history. Historical literature has been written since at least the 11th century BCE.samantha parshall

* Egyptian "Story of Wenamun"
* "The Waverley Novels", by Sir Walter Scott (over 40 distinct books)
* "Pharaoh", by Bolesław Prus
* "Mr. Tucket", by Gary Paulsen
* "Memoirs of Hadrian", by Marguerite Yourcenar
* "I, Claudius", by Robert Graves
* "The Bull from the Sea", by Mary Renault
* "The Man on a Donkey", by HFM Prescott


*Dianne Ascroft: "Hitler and Mars Bars" Fiction set against the backdrop of Irish Red Cross project, Operation Shamrock
*Jean M. Auel: The "Earth's Children" Series set in pre-historic Europe
*Adam Bagdasarian: Forgotten Fire
*L.E. Butler: Relief
*Caleb Carr: Wrote "The Alienist" and "The Angel of Darkness"
*James Clavell: The Asian Saga
*Bernard Cornwell: Sharpe series set in 19th century Europe and India, and other works set elsewhere.
* E.L. Doctorow: Ragtime
* Suzannah Dunn: The Queen's Sorrow and others
*Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa, 1980)
*C. S. Forester: Hornblower series and others
*Philippa Gregory: "The Other Boleyn Girl", "The Constant Princess" set in the Tudor era; "Earthly Joys" set in 17th century England, and other works.
*Noah Gordon: The Physician / The Shaman
*Conn Iggulden: Emperor series and Conqueror series
*Gary Jennings: Aztec (book), The Journeyer
*Morgan Llywelyn: author of books set mostly in Ireland.
*Lloyd Lofthouse: Used Sir Robert Hart, 1st Baronet as protagonist for My Splendid Concubine
*Colleen McCullough: "Masters of Rome" series of novels about the last years of the Roman Republic
*James Michener: 40+ epic novels, first famous work was "Tales of the South Pacific".
*Anchee Min: Chinese-themed sagas Empress Orchid, The Last Empress (novel)
*William Napier: Wrote Attila trilogy
*Patrick O'Brian: Series of novels featuring Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Seen as one of the greatest recent exponents of the genre
*Naomi C. Desiderio: "Hell at Sea" is set aboard a German U-Boat during WWII.
*Jean Plaidy: several books, mostly about European queens and princesses
*HFM Prescott: author of "The Man on a Donkey" set during the dissolution of the monasteries.
*Linda Proud: author of "The Botticelli Trilogy" set in Renaissance Florence.
*Boleslaw Prus: "Pharaoh"
*Erich Maria Remarque: "All Quiet on the Western Front", "The Night in Lisbon".
*Mary Renault: wrote many novels set in ancient Greece
*Ann Rinaldi: 40+ young adult historical fiction novels, primarily set in the United States.
*Edward Rutherford: several epic novels including "Sarum", "Russka", and "London"
*Simon Scarrow: Eagle series of Roman military fiction
*Henryk Sienkiewicz: "Quo Vadis (novel)"
*Anne Easter Smith: Wars of the Roses series
*Wilbur Smith: Ancient Egypt Series
*Indu Sundaresan: "The Twentieth Wife" and sequel "The Feast of Roses", fictionalized story of the Mughal empress Noor Jehan, set in 16th and 17th century Mughal Empire, India.
*Beverly Swerling: "City of Dreams", "City of Glory", "Shadowbrook", and the forthcoming "City of God" -- novels set in early days of the Mid-Atlantic States
*Harry Turtledove: Alternate history fiction
*Mark Twain: various works of historical fiction about the American South.
*Mika Waltari: numerous works of historical fiction, best known for his magnum opus "The Egyptian" ( _fi. Sinuhe egyptiläinen)
*Jack Whyte: Camulod Chronicles / A Dream of Eagles, set in early fifth century Britain; also Templar Trilogy
*Marguerite Yourcenar: author of "Memoirs of Hadrian" and "The Abyss".

Media and culture

Works of historical fiction are not reserved exclusively to literature. Many films have been created which attempt to use a historic event or setting as a backdrop and actors portray fictional or historic figures set in these events. Below are a few notable examples.

Film and television

*"The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles" - George Lucas' TV series involves the fictional character Indiana Jones with many major people and events of the early 20th Century, with a focus on World War I.
*"The Tudors" - A dramatic television series observing the reign of Henry VIII.
*"Flags of Our Fathers"/"Letters from Iwo Jima" directed by Clint Eastwood
*"Memoirs of a Geisha" - A fictional account of the life of a Geisha set in World War II Japan. Based on the book of the same name.
*"Forrest Gump" directed by Robert Zemeckis - A simple man is woven into major American historical events from the 1950s to the turn of the century.
*"The Queen (film)" directed by Stephen Frears
*"JFK (film)" and "Nixon (film)" directed by Oliver Stone

ee also

*alternate history
*historical fantasy
*historical novel
*historical romance
*sword and sandal
*historical whodunnit

External links

* [http://www.bookmarksmagazine.com/historical-fiction-masters-past/sarah-l-johnson Historical Fiction recommended reading]
* [http://historicalnovels.info/ Historical Fiction database] , divided by time period.
* [http://www.kwls.org/lit/sem_2009/ "Historical Fiction and The Search for Truth"] - upcoming Key West Literary Seminar joining top writers of historical fiction with leading historians


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