Imagined histories: novels, plays and comics
DOI link for Imagined histories: novels, plays and comics
Imagined histories: novels, plays and comics book
Over the past decades, historical fiction has become incredibly successful. Rose Tremain’s 1989 novel Restoration demonstrated the popularity and possibility of the literary historical novel, winning various prizes with huge sales. Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring up the Bodies (2012, both also discussed in chapter 13) won multiple prizes and have been adapted for TV and stage. Additionally, the historical novel as a less literary popular form has become an even bigger seller than it had previously been, from Mills & Boon’s ‘historical romance’ series to the global bestsellers by Philippa Gregory, Kate Mosse and Alison Weir.1 The historical novel has increasingly become a form that historians are comfortable with. They are reviewed in History Today, discussed by key historians and, in fact, written by them too. The historical novel has scope for an interrogation both of fictional practice and the understanding and experience of history. The following discussion considers several varieties of the historical novel and what they suggest about contemporary consumption of history. This section concentrates on the potentiality of the novel form to articulate the possibilities of understanding and thinking anew: that is, of comprehending a different sensibility. It argues that the historical novel is challenging, strange, odd, dissonant – although it also might very well serve to be nationalist, normative, conservative and passive.