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Novel History: Historians and Novelists Confront America's Past (and Each Other)
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Novel History: Historians and Novelists Confront America's Past (and Each Other)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  25 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Historical fiction is a contradiction in terms. History is what happened; fiction, what did not. Yet great novelists have often disregarded this logical difficulty, taking up the tools of the historian to explore the shadowy recesses of the past. Their labors have brought forth many literary treasures. But how accurately do these masterpieces of the imagination reflect the ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 9th 2001 by Simon & Schuster
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Lewis Weinstein
May 08, 2014 Lewis Weinstein marked it as to-read
Shelves: writing
NOVEL HISTORY is concerned about the place of historical truth in a historical novel. Historians critique a series of novels regarding their historical accuracy, and the novelists get to answer.

I just read the pages dealing with Russell Bank's Cloudsplitter, comprising first a short essay by the esteemed historian James McPherson and then Banks' rejoinder.

The issue of interest to me is the rigidity - or not - with which the novelist is expected to approach historical fact. McPherson, who proba
Nov 22, 2014 Shomeret rated it really liked it
I saw this in my feed when a friend marked it To Read. It looked fascinating, but I have to admit that I skipped over essays about books that I hadn't read and had no interest in reading. If I had no interest in reading it, the dialogue between historian and author about the book held no interest for me either.

Of the books I had read previously, I was most interested in the dialogue over All Souls' Rising by Madison Smartt Bell about Haiti's revolution. I discovered from Trouillot's essay that V
Paul Toth
Feb 15, 2013 Paul Toth rated it it was amazing
An excellent rumination on the timely topic of history vs. fiction or, better put, history and fiction as unwitting collaborators. In short, though many of those involved may well be tall, a historian takes on a "historical" novel to debate its merits as "felt" history and verisimilitude, to varying degrees of enlightenment and daft academic blindness. The novel's author then responds to the criticisms, to varying degrees of every writer's enjoyable petulant long as that writer is not ...more
Sep 28, 2014 Lauren rated it liked it
Collection of essays reviewing works of historical fiction and then a place for the author of the reviewed work to respond. Clever idea, some essays are better than others.
Wilhelmina Jenkins
Aug 25, 2008 Wilhelmina Jenkins rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, essays
Historians and novelists reflect of the interaction between history and fiction that results in a work of historical fiction. Many of the selections were very interesting; a few were annoying. My overall impression from the novelists was the emphatic reminder that these books must be seen as fictional, inaccurate in detail but attempting to seek a human truth that goes beyond merely factual.
Jul 08, 2016 Don rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only read a few of these… But they're interesting and fun and I will keep this book on my shelf to glance through whenever I have gotten to another historical novel on the list.
Cat Kelley
Jun 09, 2011 Cat Kelley rated it liked it
Intersting look at the history behind historical fiction. A historian examines various novels and lthen the authors of said novels respond. I'm really enjoying this so far.
Jul 10, 2010 Terry rated it liked it
Shelves: history
An examination of twenty historical novels which tries to determine how well they illuminate history. Good but not quite what I had hoped for.
Jan 22, 2008 Tracey marked it as to-read
810.9003 Novel 2001 - Ginnie gave 4 stars
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