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Historical Novels are trash??

Compulsive Reader
Posts: 798
Joined: July 2011

Post by rebecca » Mon June 4th, 2012, 1:45 am

[quote=""Rowan""]As with LoveHistory, I agree with everyone's responses and hadn't planned on entering anything into this conversation, until I opened today's newspaper and saw that the literary idiots are over on this side of the pond, too. Sorry Brits! You can't claim to have the monopoly. :p :p :p :p LOL Anyway I managed to find an online link to an American review of Mantel's novel: Tale of Cromwell, Boleyn a masterful sequel

To be honest I own a copy of Wolf Hall, and couldn't get into it. Perhaps I should give it another go since it seems Mantel is the only author capable of writing historical fiction worth reading. ;) [/quote]

Hi Rowan :)
I also have Wolf Hall and found it odd and disjointed and couldnt' get into it either. I have tried 3 times to read it, and though it may have won the Booker, it didn't win my heart as I found most of it incomprehensible and was starting to worry that I was a real 'Dora Dumbbutt' :p . But on the good side I really enjoyed the sequel 'Bring up the Bodies,'and the added 'he, Cromwell' does make a difference. So don't be put off as BUTB is a really good read.

Bec :)

Posts: 9
Joined: May 2012

Post by hackcyn » Mon June 4th, 2012, 12:28 pm

I thoroughly enjoyed Wolf Hall. The lack of specificity about the personal pronoun for Cromwell didn't really bother me as I thought it was quite clear who "he" was most of the time. I'm just in butb now and the familiar style and detail is lovely.

Posts: 19
Joined: December 2009

I totally agree...

Post by Kallithrix » Wed August 1st, 2012, 3:26 pm

...with his opinion.

'By and large historical novels are just pulp fiction with a historical setting.'

This is true - most HF is exactly this. Not that I'm ashamed of liking it for that reason, but if I wanted to read something factual and edifying, I'd go sink my teeth into an academic tome.

'The fans are the same kind of geeks who write sonnets for people they fancy and reenact medieval battles at the weekend.'

Also true. I'm one of them (Shakespeare geek, HF writer, reenactor - albeit not mediaeval)

'It is only in the age of Hollywood adaptations that historical fiction has become such a store of caricature and melodrama.'

Couldn't agree more. These days the first questions anyone asks about an HF book seems to be 'who would play...'

But where we disagree is that he seems to think all the above is a bad thing? That's because he's a literary snob. I'm not. I've got a masters degree in ancient Greek and I'm a pretty discerning historiographer, but I do love me some nice juicy HF ;-)

HF *IS* genre fiction - why be ashamed of that?

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