The Historical Novel and European History

History 103B.001

Fall 2017
2303 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
M 12-2
Class Number: 

Art has long served as a way of personalizing the past: turning something distant and abstract into a tangible experience. What is historical fiction and how does it relate to the professional practice of history? What are the different advantages and challenges faced by writers and historians in their attempts to represent or investigate the past? How have representations of history changed by place and over time? Rather than using literature merely as a supplement to a historical topic, we will foreground the history of the historical novel. By examining the development of historical fiction during the 19th and 20th centuries, we will consider the influence of historical events on both historiography and artistic representations of the past. Readings will include historical novels from France, Russia/the Soviet Union, Norway, and the former Yugoslavia, as well as works of literary criticism and historiography.