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any historical personages you wish had fiction composed about them

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Shield-of-Dardania
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Post by Shield-of-Dardania » Fri January 28th, 2011, 8:30 am

[quote=""donroc""]I will not say because I intend to write about a few more obscure but interesting individuals and would not like it if anyone beat me to the personage.[/quote]
Great thinking, that. Now, let me see if can get back into my old mind reading skills.

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fljustice
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Post by fljustice » Fri January 28th, 2011, 5:41 pm

[quote=""Michy""]Perhaps this is due to the fact that for most of human history, women didn't, as you say, have a way to gain and excercise true power and wealth outside of using seduction - ? So if you're writing HF about a female character -- whether real or invented -- and you want her to achieve some degree of power, the avenues are kind of limited, aren't they?[/quote]

It depends on what kind of power you're talking about. Many women down through the ages have wielded political power without seduction...primarily as regents for their underage and/or incompetent sons (check out Catherine de Medici in our BOTM). Hatshepshut of Egypt even went so far as to seize the power in her own right from her stepson and declare herself Pharaoh. Galla Placidia ruled western Rome for years until Valentinian II grew up and continued to effectively rule as he played. Sorhatani, the wife of Genghis’ youngest son and the formidable mother of Kublai inherited her husband's titles and rights, making her one of the most powerful women of the times. Military power? Queens Zenobia of Palmyra, Boudica of the Iceni, and Amanirenas of Nubia all personally fought and defeated Roman armies. Many other Queens/Empresses prosecuted wars and negotiated peace.

Other women wielded political and moral power specifically because they were virtuous. Hypatia, the famed (and chaste) Lady Philosopher of Alexandria was active in city politics; the council and governor frequently consulted with her. Pulcheria (sister of Theodosius II) outsmarted a faction that wanted to sideline her underage brother, and barter her away in marriage, by dedicating her chastity to God in a very public ceremony, then declaring herself regent and Augusta...all at the age of fifteen! Even when her brother came of age, she continued to profoundly influence him and maintained the love of the people because of her acts of charity and obvious religiosity. Religious woman have inspired people and wielded moral power down through the ages; from St. Helen (Constantine's mother) to Jean d'Arc to Mother Theresa. These are all Christians, but every religion has its own female founders/saints/martyrs.

As to power derived from wealth: Roman, Egyptian and Celtic women could own and control their own wealth and property. In fact, there is a theory that the reason there were so many brother/sister marriages in Egypt was an attempt to keep family wealth together. One of my favorite facts is that a Celtic woman could divorce her husband, if he didn't satisfy her in bed. Now that's power! If you want to go earlier, Etruscan women seemed to have extraordinary equality for the times. During the past three centuries, education, science and social justice causes have all produced thousands of women who were founders and activists, who profoundly influenced/changed society and therefor wielded power.

The point of all this: it's very easy to pick a time period and write about a female character (whether historical or fictional) who can wield power (in its many iterations) without using seduction. I'll never be able to write all the books I'd like to about all the fascinating women I've come across in my research. The fact that so many books fall back on the sex trope says more about the unwillingness of the publishing industry to go beyond a narrow stereotype of women...or maybe the unwillingness of readers to go beyond their comfort zone. If readers demanded more realistic and rounded women, there are plenty of candidates out there.
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Kveto from Prague
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Post by Kveto from Prague » Thu February 24th, 2011, 8:22 pm

heres another interesting candidate: Gunther Pluschow. He was a german WWI pilot who crash landed in China. He managed to return to Germany by way of America and England. A pretty epic journey.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunther_Pluschow

There have already been a few books about him but mostly in German.

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Kveto from Prague
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Slave George

Post by Kveto from Prague » Sat March 12th, 2011, 9:30 am

Heres one. A slave who was murdered by two nephews of Thomas Jefferson in Kentucky. Amazingly, it was an Earthquake that solved the crime and revealed the murderers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_George

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Margaret
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Post by Margaret » Sat March 12th, 2011, 11:07 pm

While I don't know of a novel about this particular incident, Kveto, there is another novel about relations of the Jefferson family that involves slavery and a murder charge: Just Deceits by Michael Schein (see review). It's from a small press and not well publicized, and has some stylistic flaws - but it was very well researched, with some vivid scenes and offers an interesting perspective on what happened. It was written by a lawyer with a good understanding of the legal issues involved at a time when the American legal system was in its infancy.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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