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Pagan Themed Historical Fiction

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Juniper
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Interest in HF: I studied English Literature and History at college. Historical fiction blends my two passions together in one neat package.
Location: Missouri, USA
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Postby Juniper » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 2:16 am

"Divia" wrote:Pagan means country dweller. So throw that into your definition :p



That is originally what the word means, although you will find a lot of Pagans who are offended by that concept now!

Paganism is an umbrella term for a lot of various religious and spriritual belief systems. The best definition for the modern term 'Pagan' that I have ever come across is: anyone who self-identifies as Pagan. You can't get more broad than that! :p

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Divia
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Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 2:54 am

True. But I just wanted her to throw something else into the definition. :)
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Calgal
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Location: Northern California

Pagan Historical or Fantasy HF?

Postby Calgal » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 3:03 pm

A question about this topic. Is anyone drawing a line between HF and Fantasy HF? It seems to me that books like the Arthur stories and The Mists of Avalon are pretty much hybrids. So would Juliette Marillier belong on this thread? She is a lot closer to Fantasy, but her settings are convincingly historical. Isn't much of what is written about pagan rites and beliefs a fleshing out of myth?


As far as that goes, all Jean Auel's books, are fantasy, too. How much imagination has to go into a book before it becomes Fantasy as opposed to straight Historical? Lots of books with Druids in them have them doing some sort of magic, and the Greek and Roman Gods seem to interfere more with mortals more than Jawah.

Also, isn't any pre-Christian or pre-Islamic or pre-Buddhist religion more or less pagan? Or is it just Europeans who are considered to have been pagans, a title attributed to them by the Catholic Church?

User avatar
Juniper
Scribbler
Interest in HF: I studied English Literature and History at college. Historical fiction blends my two passions together in one neat package.
Location: Missouri, USA
Contact:

Postby Juniper » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 8:17 pm

"Calgal" wrote:A question about this topic. Is anyone drawing a line between HF and Fantasy HF? It seems to me that books like the Arthur stories and The Mists of Avalon are pretty much hybrids. So would Juliette Marillier belong on this thread? She is a lot closer to Fantasy, but her settings are convincingly historical. Isn't much of what is written about pagan rites and beliefs a fleshing out of myth?



I would say that Juliet Marillier would fit into the list, especially since (often, but not always) those who enjoy the Avalon series tend to enjoy her Sevenwaters trilogy, too. IMO the first book is definitely historical fantasy, but the second two might be considered just plain fantasy. Good, though.

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Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Wed September 3rd, 2008, 9:06 pm

I wasnt drawing aline betewen historical and fantasy. I dont know what others want though. :)
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

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Calgal
Scribbler
Location: Northern California

Postby Calgal » Thu September 4th, 2008, 2:01 am

"Juniper" wrote:I would say that Juliet Marillier would fit into the list, especially since (often, but not always) those who enjoy the Avalon series tend to enjoy her Sevenwaters trilogy, too. IMO the first book is definitely historical fantasy, but the second two might be considered just plain fantasy. Good, though.


In that case, I would suggest Marillier's Bridei Chronicles, which I found fascinating. Actually, I like everything I've read of hers. She shares my love of fairy tales. If you go to her website, there is a little video of her speaking at a bookstore in Portugal.

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Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Sat September 20th, 2008, 3:25 pm

At a book fair today I stumbled across Devoted by Alice Borchardt who is Anne RIce's older sister.

Here is the write up of the novel

As a first work, Devoted may presage the author's potential. It reads as though she were shaking the tree of her imagination to see what will drop. One story can hardly contain all the fruitful ideas that fall. Set in the year 900, the story centers on a medieval stronghold beset by invading Vikings, corrupt feudal landlords, and a traitor within. Owen, Bishop of Chantalon, is a Christian; Elin, beaten, raped, and forced into slavery by the Vikings, is of the Forest People, pagans with magical skills. Through their union, Borchardt explores the conflict between paganism and early Christianity and the flagrant inequalities between men and women, the nobility and the lesser born, and people with different beliefs. These large themes make the story overlong, sometimes threatening to take it over. But the monumental, blood-soaked clashes between the Saxons and the Vikings; the descriptions of household artifacts, weaponry, and fashion in the Middle Ages; and, of course, the heart of the tale: the love that is hammered into being like a coat of woven mail between Owen and Elin, make this first novel a worthwhile read.
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