History and Fiction: An Uneasy Marriage?


Jan Thomas Lindblad(1*)

(1) Leiden University
(*) Corresponding Author


This essay discusses the relationship between history as a science and fiction as a genre of literature. It starts with a brief digression on the characteristics and pitfalls of the historical novel, including its development over time. Past experience is highlighted with the aid of a selection of acknowledged novelists making intensive use of historical information. Recent new trends are illustrated by professional historians becoming novelists. A final section offers reflections on how to combine the demands of authenticity in history with the demands of drama in literary fiction.


Historical Fiction; Research in History; Literature; Authenticity

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22146/jh.34619

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