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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Historical Fiction

What's the artistic justification for historical fiction? Why write stories set in times past? Surely the modern world provides more than enough material and inspiration.

The fact is, most people are fascinated by the question of what life was like in days gone by. How did people live in Ming Dynasty China, for example? What were the conditions of daily life in eighteenth century Europe? It's the personal angle people want to read about. Certainly there is interest in the political or economic history of a country or a society, but when it comes to fiction, readers want to know what life was like for people. The writer of historical fiction can bring a past world to life, recreate it at a personal level and give readers an opportunity to feel, see, hear and understand what the world was like for those who lived in that era.

It seems this is what keeps people writing and reading historical fiction. It certainly is what keeps me writing and reading it. It appears humans never learn much from the past, but they certainly like to find out about it.