Historical fiction

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Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the action takes place in the past. It is an ambiguous term. because while it frequently is used as a synonym for the historical novel it is also applied to plays and films.

The settings are drawn from history, and often contains historical persons. Works in this genre often portray the manners and social conditions of the persons or times presented in the story, with attention paid to period detail.[1]


Historical fiction presents people and events from the point of view of characters of the time period depicted titles. Artistic license is permitted in regard to presentation, subject matter, and historical facts.

The Historical Novel Society defines the genre as works "written at least fifty years after the events described".[2] Sarah Johnson further delineates such novels as "set before the middle of the last [20th] century ... in which the author is writing from research rather than personal experience."[3] Lynda Adamson, in her preface to the bibliographic reference work World Historical Fiction, states that while a "generally accepted definition" for the historical novel is a novel "about a time period at least 25 years before it was written". Adamson also suggests that some people view a novel as historical if it is about a past time period, even if the author was writing about his or her own time. She gives Jane Austen as an example of this.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Search - Encyclopedia Britannica". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  2. ^ Richard Lee. "Defining the Genre".
  3. ^ Sarah L. Johnson. Historical Fiction: A Guide to the Genre. Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2005, p. 1.
  4. ^ Adamson, Lynda G. (1999). World Historical Fiction. Phoenix, AZ: Orxy Press. p. xi. ISBN 9781573560665. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Shaw, Harry E. The Forms of Historical Fiction: Sir Walter Scott and His Successors. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1983.

External links[edit]