Signposts: Historical Novels

Juliet Gardiner analyses the recent explosion in interest in historical novels

History Today has not by tradition reviewed historical novels, but it’s a position that has seemed increasingly purblind as more such novels are published. Several respected historians are turning to fictionalise their subjects and major novelists are delving into the past to great effect. In future occasional reviews of historical novels will appear and this month a series of articles and reviews discuss the genre: why it has come to recent prominence, what insights it might bring, what historical fiction might add to the record, or whether it constitutes a different beast altogether to be evaluated and appreciated by very different rules.

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