The Historical Novel  book cover
1st Edition

The Historical Novel

Edited By

Jerome de Groot

ISBN 9780415426626
Published October 28, 2009 by Routledge
208 Pages

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Book Description

The historical novel is an enduringly popular genre that raises crucial questions about key literary concepts, fact and fiction, identity, history, reading, and writing. In this comprehensive, focused guide, Jerome de Groot offers an accessible introduction to the genre and critical debates that surround it, including:

  • the development of the historical novel from early eighteenth-century works through to postmodern and contemporary historical fiction
  • different genres, such as sensational or ‘low’ fiction, crime novels, literary works, counterfactual writing and related issues of audience, value, and authenticity
  • the many functions of historical fiction, particularly the challenges it poses to accepted histories and postmodern questioning of ‘grand narratives’
  • the relationship of the historical novel to the wider cultural sphere with reference to historical theory, the internet, television, and film
  • key theoretical concepts such as the authentic fallacy, postcolonialism, Marxism, queer and feminist reading.

Drawing on a wide range of examples from across the centuries and around the globe The Historical Novel is essential reading for students exploring the interface of history and fiction.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. 'Origins': early manifestations and some definitions  2. 'Low' genre or sensational novels  3. High or Literary Fiction  4. Postmodernism and the Historical Novel  5. Challenging History  History from the margins: colonial, sexual  Glossary  Further Reading

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Series Editor(s)


Jerome de Groot is Lecturer in Renaissance Literature and Culture at The University of Manchester. His publications include Consuming History (2008) and Royalist Identities (2004).


'a rare examination of how historical fiction can enhance our understandings of the past and how its postmodern forms may indeed cause us to revisit what history is.' - History Today