Interpreting textual mediations of history in early modernity, this volume adds nuance to our understanding of the contributions fiction and fictionalizing make to the shape and texture of versions of and debates about history during that period. Geographically, the scope of the essays extends beyond Europe and England to include Asia and Africa. Contributors take a number of different approaches to understand the relationship between history, fiction, and broader themes in early modern culture. They analyze the ways fiction writers use historical sources, fictional texts translate ideas about the past into a vernacular accessible to broad audiences, fictional depictions and interpretations shape historical action, and the ways in which nonfictional texts and accounts were given fictional histories of their own, intentionally or not, through transmission and interpretation. By combining the already contested idea of fiction with performance, action, and ideas/ideology, this collection provides a more thorough consideration of fictional histories in the early modern period. It also covers more than two centuries of primary material, providing a longer perspective on the changing and complex role of history in forming early modern national, gendered, and cultural identities.
Allison Kavey is Associate Professor of History at CUNY John Jay College and The Graduate Center, USA. Elizabeth Ketner is an independent scholar.