Definition: Historical fiction presentsreaderswith a story thattakes place during a notable period in history, and usuallyduring a significantevent in thatperiod. Historical fiction oftenpresentsactualeventsfrom the point of view of fictional people living in that time period. In somehistorical fiction, famouseventsappearfrom points of view not recorded in history, withfictionalcharacterseitherobserving or activelyparticipating in theseactualevents. --fromWikipedia
Historicalnovelsoften tell a lively story with a sense of
impending danger, mystery, suspense, or romance.
Historical fiction includesmysteries, comedies,
adventures, realisticproblem stories, and manyother genres. (Nilsen, p. 244) Characteristics:tics
‘’Historicalnovelsallow us – attheir best they force us – to make connections and to realizethatdespairis as old and as new as hope, thatloyalty and treachery, love and hatred, compassion and crueltywere and are inherent in humanity, whetheritbe in ancientGreece, ElizabethanEngland, or post-WorldWar I Germany.’’ --Nilsen p. 244
Development: Historical Fiction Developed from the romantic movement of the early 19th century. Appeals to the romantic desire to escape from the present. Historical fiction before World War I tended to be idealized and filled with patriotic sentiment. Historical fiction today attempts to reassess and understand the past rather than glorify it. Current trends in historical fiction spotlight ordinary people and give a sense of history from their perspective. (Brown 2000) (Nilsen,p. 276)
Westerns Will Rogers Medallion Award
U.S. Civil War
tells a good story
conveys the flavor of the historical period
authentically captures the people of the period,
their values, and their habits
uses dialogue to make the characters sound
authentic but not artificial
faithfully uses historical knowledge to avoid
fairly and sensitively portrays different sides of
the compelling issues of the period
gives us insight into contemporary problems as
well as helps us understand the problems of the past --Brown 2000
Consistently Good Writers of Young AdultHistorical Fiction Laurie Halse Anderson Fever 1793 tells the story of 14-year-old Mattie during the yellow feveroutbreakin Philadelphia. Mattiestruggles to keep the family coffee house open, but whenMattie’smotherbecomes ill, Mattie tries to escape. Tracy Chevalier Girl with a Pearl Earringis about 16-year-old Griet who must work to support herfamily. Sheishired by the Johannes Vermeer family, but isimmediatelydisliked by the wife and daughter. Vermeer paintsslowly and produces few pieces of work, soheisoften in debt. Griet growscloser to the painter as she mixes and prepareshis paints, and Vermeer uses Griet as a model for hismost famous painting.
Christopher and James Lincoln Collier Thesetwobrothersspecialize in historical fiction. Their best-knownnovel, My Brother Sam is Dead, comesfrom the time of the Civil Warand was a Newbery Award book. The books The Bloody Country and The Winter Hero continue the story. Mildred D. Taylor Taylor’sownfamilyhistoryprovidedmaterial for herprizewinningseries of books. The Land won the 2002 Coretta Scott King Award. It waswritten as a prequel to the earlier books Song of the Trees, Roll of ThunderHearMyCry, Let the Circle Be Unbroken, and The Road to Memphis. This series of books tells the story of the Logan family, African American landownersnear Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Karen Cushman Cushman has chosen to write about girls embarking on journeys to discover themselves. One of her books, Catherine CalledBirdy, is the diary of a 14-year-old daughter of a knightwhosefeistyand witty observations bring the 13th century to life. Her book, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple, tells the story of CaliforniaMorning Whipple whoisdragged by hermotherfrom Massachusetts to Lucky Diggings, California, whereshestrikesitrich in an unexpectedway. Jennifer Donnelly Donnelly has a single historicalnovel but one of the best. A Northern Light isbased in part on the sensationalmurder of Grace Brown, whose body wasfound in Big Moose Lake in the Adirondack Mountains. Mattie, the main character, takes a job as a waiterat the lakeresort. Hereshemeets Grace Brown, a resortguest. Grace leaves a pack of letterswithMattiebeforeshegoesboatingwithherboyfriend. Grace asksMattie to burn the letters if shedoes not return. Grace, in fact, does not return.
Scott O’Dell Island of the Blue Dolphins and Sing Down the Moon both Present positive and original portrayals of young Native American Womenwhosufferat the hands of white settlers in the middle to late 1800s. O’Dellwas a pioneer in featuringstrong youngwomen in thesetwo books, and within the last couple of decadesseveral good writers have followedhis lead. **In 1982, the Scott O’DellAward for historical fiction wasestablished. Ann Rinaldi Rinaldi’snovel, Wolf by the Ears, tells the fictional story of Sally Hemmings’sfamily. Sally was a mulatto slave in Thomas Jefferson’shousehold. Somehistorians believethat Jefferson fatheredseveral of herchildren. Rinaldi’s book impliesthisistrue, but the question isneverreallyanswered. Most of Rinaldi’s books focus on the RevolutionaryWar of the Civil War.
‘The historian, if honest, gives us a photograph; the storytellergives us a painting.’ -- From ‘Historical Fiction for our Global Times’, Leon Garfield
References Brown, M. E. (2000, April 10). Historical fiction. In Literature for children. Retrieved July 21, 2011, from http://www.southernct.edu/~brownm/Ghis.html Historical fiction. (2011, July 10). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 03:29, July 22, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Historical_fiction&oldid=438813723 Nilsen, A. P., & Donelson, K. L. (2009). Literature for today's young adults (Eighth ed., pp. 243-276). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.