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For discussions of historical fiction. Threads that do not relate to historical fiction should be started in the Chat forum or elsewhere on the forum, depending on the topic.
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Post by JaneConsumer » Fri September 19th, 2008, 9:15 pm

One of the aspects that hasn't been mentioned yet is where what is known about historical characters changes after a book has been written.

Good point. Historical context is important. I can forgive these kinds of errors, assuming I know enough to recognize them in the first place.

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Post by Ariadne » Fri September 19th, 2008, 10:17 pm

I found it interesting that in between completion of the manuscript for Carolly Erickson's The Tsarina's Daughter and its publication (later this month), DNA testing proved that the bodies of all of the Romanov siblings were accounted for. The novel imagines that Grand Duchess Tatiana survived. Suddenly, what was originally speculative (extremely speculative) historical fiction became, in essence, alternate history :D

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Post by EC2 » Fri September 19th, 2008, 10:35 pm

A novelist has to go by what's known or accepted at the time. As a reader I wouldn't be scathing of a writer who'd done their research to the best of their ability. Since SKP started writing her latest trilogy, it's been discovered that Eleanor of Aquitaine is two years older than everyone thought she was. Richard the Lionheart has been all red-blooded hero male, bent as a nine bob note, and now the pendulum's swinging back a little the other way and who knows where it'll go from there. Discovering Richard III's or Henry VII's signed confession 'I murdered the boys!' would really set the cat among the pigeons. I wonder what Carolly Erickson thinks of the discovery re Tatiana
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal


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Post by Leyland » Sat September 20th, 2008, 12:31 am

I try to keep in mind as I'm reading a novel that the story the author is telling about real events and persons might be a sort of snapshot of a relatively short period of time. People change as they go through experiences of their particular era in response to all sorts of external influences. An author may need to narrow down research to just a few years at times and portray a character differently in the novel than the character may have been known for being at an earlier or later time.
We are the music makers, And we are the dreamers of dreams ~ Arthur O'Shaughnessy, Ode

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Post by Cuchulainn » Sat September 20th, 2008, 5:03 am

I think the only responsibility a fictional writer has is not to pass something off as something that it is not.

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