Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > Themes in History > History Book Reviews > Historical Fiction
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

Historical Fiction Historical Fiction Forum - Original historical fiction by the Historum community


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old November 1st, 2015, 05:01 AM   #21

d'artanian's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Aug 2010
From: USA
Posts: 2,942

Quote:
Originally Posted by History Chick View Post
Yes, but the use of the modern version of it jolts me out of the story. If it has a historical counterpart that would be at least somewhat understood by modern readers, use it! Don't use a modern phrase that has only been around since the 1960s - because if you accept a 20th century American phrase in 15th/16th century Spain, where do you draw the line? Your narrative/dialogue might as well just be riddled with modern phrases.
I understand what you mean, but I also understand marketing to the masses. Many people would not even pick up on the fact that a phrase was 20th century vs 15th century. The number of history majors reading these novels is small compared to the larger fiction audience...who are not going to be turned off by those details if they're kept to a minimum.
d'artanian is offline  
Remove Ads
Old November 1st, 2015, 06:03 AM   #22

History Chick's Avatar
Genealogist
 
Joined: Jun 2010
From: Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
Posts: 3,104

Quote:
Originally Posted by d'artanian View Post
I understand what you mean, but I also understand marketing to the masses. Many people would not even pick up on the fact that a phrase was 20th century vs 15th century. The number of history majors reading these novels is small compared to the larger fiction audience...who are not going to be turned off by those details if they're kept to a minimum.
I'm not a history major. I don't even read that much non-fiction either. It's still obvious it's a modern phrase to me. You don't exactly hear Shakespeare quoted with it.
History Chick is offline  
Old November 1st, 2015, 08:26 AM   #23

Tercios Espanoles's Avatar
Gonfaloniere
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Posts: 6,352
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackydee View Post
Are there any historical novels which do not suffer from this annoying habit? If so, can you name them.
Patrick O'Brien springs to mind. His protaganist Aubrey is a philandering, gambling, drinking man, who enjoys a good cock fight as much as the next man.
Tercios Espanoles is offline  
Old November 17th, 2015, 03:39 PM   #24

Sian Griffith's Avatar
Citizen
 
Joined: Nov 2015
From: Los Angeles
Posts: 45

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackydee View Post
I do enjoy reading historical fiction. However, I do have one major issue with much of it. That is the tendency to place modern thinking men in the minds of historical characters. Has anyone read C.J. Sansom? His books are very enjoyable. They are more murder mystery types rather than historical accounts of famous people. Yet famous people do get introduced. It's Sansom's(and others) tendency to place the intellectual mind of their main participants as enlightened figures that infuriates me. The hero of Sansom's novels is a lawyer named Matthew Shardlake. Shardlake has very few prejudices of his time; he's almost an enlightenment figure transported back to Tudor times. Are there any historical novels which do not suffer from this annoying habit? If so, can you name them.

What do you find annoying about historical fiction?
But we love Matthew anyway, don't we?

It is not just Matthew, Jack Barak is pretty modern as well, as is Guy Malton.

The problem, I think, is not with creating a protagonist who has all the biases of his time. The problem is with modern readers, who would simply not accept such biases, and stop reading.

Not a big deal for me. Writers' interpretation of historical figures is also always pretty much determined by contemporary historical views on the matter, which may be very far from historical reality. As a die-hard G.R.Elton's follower , I sure don't share such a low view on Thomas Cromwell C.J. Sansom has, but it does not make his books any less enjoyable.
Sian Griffith is offline  
Old February 13th, 2016, 04:06 AM   #25

Edric Streona's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Feb 2016
From: Japan
Posts: 1,642

Heros will be written with modern morals to suit the modern audiences who will pay up. The vast majority of readers of historical fiction do not care about historical accuracy. They would however find it hard to like a hero who thinks black men are inferior, or believes domestic violence to be unpleasent but acceptable... a working class soldier who prefers his officers to be toffs and not jumped up rankers?
A Christian knight who has no qualms or unease about killing Jews and Muslims...

While these are far more likely most people would not like the hero. So would not buy the book.

Last edited by Edric Streona; February 13th, 2016 at 04:09 AM.
Edric Streona is online now  
Old February 13th, 2016, 07:35 AM   #26

History Chick's Avatar
Genealogist
 
Joined: Jun 2010
From: Colorado Springs (PA at heart)
Posts: 3,104

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edric Streona View Post
Heros will be written with modern morals to suit the modern audiences who will pay up. The vast majority of readers of historical fiction do not care about historical accuracy. They would however find it hard to like a hero who thinks black men are inferior, or believes domestic violence to be unpleasent but acceptable... a working class soldier who prefers his officers to be toffs and not jumped up rankers?
A Christian knight who has no qualms or unease about killing Jews and Muslims...

While these are far more likely most people would not like the hero. So would not buy the book.
Yeah but like I said before - who wants to read about the average, common person anyway? Typically, we want to read about people who were extraordinary, because it's more interesting and exciting. Reading about someone who fits the "norm" for the time and place is a little boring, don't you think? Having a protagonist who believes something out of the ordinary doesn't mean it's historically inaccurate, there were still people in history who believed such things - otherwise, our society would have never moved forward.

I do like when authors are smart enough to create a good reason why a protagonist believes in something outside the norm though. For example, in Donna Thorland's novels, two of protagonists have opposed slavery in colonial America but she explains this with them having been influenced by their Quaker mothers/parents, because Quakers were always staunchly anti-slavery.

I also imagine there's something to be said of people who may have believed something outside the "norm", but didn't have the courage to say it out loud or act on it. I imagine there was a lot of people in history like this, but we don't know about it because they never made a mark on history.
History Chick is offline  
Old April 22nd, 2016, 01:21 AM   #27
Academician
 
Joined: Apr 2016
From: Brighton
Posts: 53
Blog Entries: 1

So agree. Used to read Medieval murder mysteries and noticed that the lead characters were so 'modern' in their outlook.
None would start justifying 'unacceptable' views such as a heretic being burned to death, or claim that male masturbation was a worse sin than rape .
In fact recall in the 1990's one unkind television reviewer complaining that Brother Cadfael was so modern you have half expect him to say ' What do you think this is ? The Middle Ages! '


Quote:
Originally Posted by Edric Streona View Post
Heros will be written with modern morals to suit the modern audiences who will pay up. The vast majority of readers of historical fiction do not care about historical accuracy. They would however find it hard to like a hero who thinks black men are inferior, or believes domestic violence to be unpleasent but acceptable... a working class soldier who prefers his officers to be toffs and not jumped up rankers?
A Christian knight who has no qualms or unease about killing Jews and Muslims...

While these are far more likely most people would not like the hero. So would not buy the book.
MichaelBully is offline  
Old April 22nd, 2016, 12:52 PM   #28
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,745

Quote:
Originally Posted by Edric Streona View Post
They would however find it hard to like a hero who thinks black men are inferior, or believes domestic violence to be unpleasent but acceptable... a working class soldier who prefers his officers to be toffs and not jumped up rankers?
\.
The best example of this is Harry Flashman - he is quite bigoted and rightly so for the period. Most readers are turned off by his series or that he bungles through history instead of making it. For example - Flashman is the only white man that survived Custer's Last Stand by both running away before the first shot is fired and playing dead, then afterwards people go around call him a hero for surviving Custer's Last Stand.
kazeuma is offline  
Old May 18th, 2016, 11:13 AM   #29

notgivenaway's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Jun 2015
From: UK
Posts: 3,970

bugbears? not really. provided they embrace the feel of the period, i don't care what they do.

Gladiator was not 100% accurate, and is historical fiction, but then captured Rome well and its culture. Vikings does too, as does the Last Kingdom.

Highlander, the films and series, do too.
notgivenaway is offline  
Old May 18th, 2016, 11:28 AM   #30

TotalAaron's Avatar
The Greatest warrior
 
Joined: Feb 2016
From: Australia
Posts: 3,243
Blog Entries: 6

It does not bother me one bit. I find it strange when someone wields a zweihander in ancient rome but the plot demands a sick sword fight and the author delivers
TotalAaron is offline  
Reply

  Historum > Themes in History > History Book Reviews > Historical Fiction

Tags
bugbears, fiction



Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Historical Fiction and Incest Naeco06 General History 29 August 8th, 2010 01:35 AM
Historical Fiction...what do you like? Richard Stanbery History Book Reviews 25 March 27th, 2010 11:42 PM
Historical fiction Rosi General History 15 September 14th, 2008 01:01 PM
Historical Fiction Ritocal History Book Reviews 3 June 27th, 2006 09:24 AM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.