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Cliches in Historical Fiction

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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Lisa
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Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Tue April 9th, 2013, 9:40 am

[quote=""kodiakblair""]I know a Bricklayer who goes every time it plays in Edinburgh. Thought scares the hell out of me. But he's a big guy so we keep quiet and say " Aye Flash the things you dae tae keep Mandy happy " and leave it at that.[/quote]

*shudders*

SCW
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Preferred HF: Lately World Two or the time immediately before and after this period
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Post by SCW » Sat May 4th, 2013, 10:12 am

You don't see this in many historical novels now - but when the heroine is forced to have sex by the the male character and ends up falling madly in love with him. Victoria Holt had a few novels like this.
Another is the timid young virgin who after being initiated by her lover/husband in the ways of 'love' is now a seasoned professional ready to do or try anything. World War Two novel set in Russia - yes I am thinking of you.

princess
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Post by princess » Sat May 4th, 2013, 9:04 pm

I've not had time to read through this whole thread yet so I apologise if this has already been mentioned...................the heroine NEVER loses her looks or figure (even after carrying umpteen babies) no matter her age, her hair remains her crowning glory - never grays and remains "glossy, wondrous" blah blah blah.
Currently reading: The Poisoned Pilgrim: A Hangman's Daughter Tale by Oliver Potzsch

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EC2
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Post by EC2 » Sun May 5th, 2013, 12:27 pm

[quote=""princess""]I've not had time to read through this whole thread yet so I apologise if this has already been mentioned...................the heroine NEVER loses her looks or figure (even after carrying umpteen babies) no matter her age, her hair remains her crowning glory - never grays and remains "glossy, wondrous" blah blah blah.[/quote]

And you rarely see a small hero, they're all tall and lean and never ever going bald. Everyone always has perfect teeth and quite often they're so dazzling white that they flash when the hero gives a boyish grin!
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

www.elizabethchadwick.com

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Lisa
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Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Sun May 5th, 2013, 5:49 pm

[quote=""EC2""] Everyone always has perfect teeth and quite often they're so dazzling white that they flash when the hero gives a boyish grin![/quote]

Yes! The teeth thing bothers me. I lost a front tooth at the age of about 17 and have had crowns fitted since then; thank goodness I live in modern times. But from the way most historical fiction has it, apart from the ancient old "crone" that brews up suspicious herbal medicines and the menacing, leering fellow that the heroine encounters after curfew in Southwark just before a timely rescue by the story's hero, I would have been the only one around with a gap at the front of my mouth!

princess
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Post by princess » Sun May 5th, 2013, 6:45 pm

[quote=""EC2""]And you rarely see a small hero, they're all tall and lean and never ever going bald. Everyone always has perfect teeth and quite often they're so dazzling white that they flash when the hero gives a boyish grin![/quote]

Of course!!! :D
Currently reading: The Poisoned Pilgrim: A Hangman's Daughter Tale by Oliver Potzsch

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DianeL
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Post by DianeL » Sun May 19th, 2013, 6:11 pm

Lady B, same thing for me - I have four broken teeth, all nicely refurbished with bonding since the bike wreck when I was ten. I've always had a thing for snaggle teeth, actually - REAL teeth. (Still mad at Bowie for getting braces so late in his life!) Perfectly straight, perfectly sized Chicklet teeth are eerie looking, and more and more common all the time. Eep.

Agreed too on the heroine who never ages. Even "Katherine" did this, a generation or two back, and I hazily recall Elizabeth Woodville's character in "Sunne in Splendor" reflecting on her diet, exercise, and skincare regimen.

These are reasons I did not describe my characters in detail in "The Ax and the Vase" - I find as a reader I'm little interested in recreating an author's vision of a character, but they tend to build themselves as I read. (Plus, I wrote in first person from the point of view of a character very definitely not given to doting description of everyone around him ...)
"To be the queen, she agreed to be the widow!"

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---Medieval Kingship, Henry A. Myers

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Divia
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Post by Divia » Mon May 20th, 2013, 9:05 pm

One I super duper hate is when everyone is so multicultural. Really? You mean to tell me every Northern thought ending slavery was a good thing? Um no. In fact most didn't care, but whatever. Everyone is so hippie, lets love one another, sit in the circle when you know that never happened. Hell, it doesnt happen now.
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Madeleine
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Post by Madeleine » Tue May 21st, 2013, 8:36 am

[quote=""Divia""]One I super duper hate is when everyone is so multicultural. Really? You mean to tell me every Northern thought ending slavery was a good thing? Um no. In fact most didn't care, but whatever. Everyone is so hippie, lets love one another, sit in the circle when you know that never happened. Hell, it doesnt happen now.[/quote]

Yep it's bad enough when they put that in modern fiction but to try to sanitise HF for modern day political correctness; well we've had this discussion (on revisionism I think it's called) in another thread already, but basically if something offends you, then don't read it, but don't expect it to be sanitised :mad:
Currently reading: "The Comforts of Home" by Susan Hill

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Lisa
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Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Sat May 25th, 2013, 6:50 pm

A major cliche just occurred to me while reading The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson. In one chapter Catherine Parr, married to the king at this point, is inwardly despising all of the attention she's getting from the courtiers, who are watching for any sign she might be pregnant. She's also worrying over the fact that she definitely isn't. However, she spends the whole chapter also inwardly complaining that she is feeling nauseous and dizzy, and I think this is a bit of a tease on the author's part, because in HF whenever a female lead becomes nauseous and dizzy, it usually does mean that she's pregnant (unless the plague is doing the rounds...). Even in an earlier chapter the author uses that trick - Catherine goes about feeling dizzy and sick for a while before realising she's pregnant by her first husband. So I would say that's definitely a major cliche (and probably mentioned before in this thread but I haven't checked...).

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