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There are several types of historical fiction. The Historical stories are ones taken from the actual life of a person or actual account of the past. The Historical Fiction are stories set in historical times with one or two historical figures appearing in the story. There is also the Historical Romance. This does not always involve an actual historical person. There may be debate on the existence but it has to take place in a notable time when history is unfolding example: Anne Boleyn’s execution, World War II, Edsa Revolution.
Historical Fiction can also be called Alternate-History. The story is centered on an event. The characters may mostly be fictitious but there are tremendous researched poured to make the story believable in the timeline. If this character existed, he would most likely do this during this. The reactions of people, the background, the moods are dependent on actual historic accounts. Examples of these are Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables, Umberto Eco’s The name of the Rose, James Reasoner’s Civil War Series, etc. Ivanhoe is a good historic depiction of the Medieval Ages.
Historical Romance is a popular sub-genres of Historical Stories. It is basically the historic fiction with romance added. Bertrice Small concentrates on Historical Romance. The Wyndham Family Saga and the Friar’s Gate Inheritance are centered during Henry VIII’s Time. Barbara Cartland is another popular author of Historic Romance.
A more popular sub-genre today is Historical Fantasy or Fantahistorical. It has all the elements of historical but elements of magic and mythology added. Magic anf myth may or may not play a significant part. The historic time line, however, is not altered. Example is R. A. McAvoy’s A trio for Lute. The Trilogy follows a magician named Damiano Delstrego, his lute and his teacher, the Archangel Raphael. It is set in medieval Italy and the Arabian Desserts. We meet historical characters like the Pope. The King Arthur Chronicles may be considered as Fantahistorical.
According to some teachers, Historical Fiction and its subgenres are good tools in teaching history. It is reading a good story set in a time where we can relate to. The reader can research and be intrigued if the actual events did occur. A good historical fiction story depicts all elements of the story as they are. These elements (characters, set and events) have no sides. The writer does not classify them under good or bad. It will be up to the reader to decide.
Maita Lu | June 2007
No, it is not medieval! Yes, they do involve crumbling castles, mansions and dark cathedrals. There is no rock icon involved! But there are skulls and poisons. It may be dark but not all is black! There must always be the light to differentiate the darkness from light.
18th to 19th Century Europe and America, a new Literary Movement rose, the Romantic Movement. Later, it split to two unique movements. Romantic Literature, the first to come, aimed to express the strong emotions of the writer where in Dark Romantic, the split, there is always added an element of terror and death.
Dark Romantic soon became known as Gothic literature. Styles of art and architecture rose after the books. Gothic literature is always characterized by the fear of the unknown and the threat of life. They still carry traits of a romantic literature like the descriptive words with strong emotional characters.
Though Gothic literature seems to tend to Anti-Catholicism, it is not anti-religion. It was the era of the time to question what was norms thus, the church was a highly debated topic.
These dark stories, fiction or not, seeks to explore the realm of the unknown. The unknown does not always refer to the spiritual. They can mean the mind, where Edgar Allan Poe sets most of his stories. The human mind is an enigma. There are psychological problems that are only being discovered and studied through medical breakthroughs.
Because of these dark elements, the Dark Romantic Movement gave way to popular modern styles such as thriller, horror and murder mysteries. These are more defined than the Victorian Gothic literature.
Modern Gothic Literature is now defined as a dark tale with chilling characters. The protagonist is usually a female and the antagonist, a frightening male, aims to posses the female’s land, riches or body. Murky settings and dark secrets are elements of the Modern Gothic.
Popular writers in the 18th and 19th Century:
Popular modern gothic literature (Gothic, Horror, Thrillers)
Modern Genres brought about by the Dark Romantic/ Gothic Literature:
Maita Lu | April 2007
A dandy is one character archetype that is not very common in today’s literature (My observations are, of course, limited to the books I immerse myself with. I cannot speak for all genres.) but have become quite rampant in the world outside of paper and ink. A dandy is, simply put, a vain man. Many people, however, associate vanity with women. Therefore, the thought of men being vain immediately brings to mind the issue of homosexuality. Such is not always the case.
These days, with women taking on male roles, males have also begun indulging themselves in more feminine traits. Thus arose what is now called “Metrosexuals,” the style-savvy, fashion forward, twenty-first century urban male. But wait! Just because metrosexuality is quite new, it does not mean dandies didn’t exist in older periods of time. While men were stereotypically expected to be big, brawny, and sweaty, the wealthy society males have taken a keen interest in fashion and trends. One example is France’s King Louis XIV, who was known for his excessive wealth and lavish taste.
In classical literature, one particular character embodies the very essence of being a dandy. An eighteenth-century metrosexual, if you will. That character is none other than the main character from “The Scarlet Pimpernel” by Baroness Emmuska Orczy. Today’s stylish, trendy, and fashion-conscious urban males are modern versions of this English fop. In Orczy’s novel, there is a wealthy Englishman who adorns himself in cunning disguises in order to save French aristocrats from being killed by mobs during the French Revolution. This mysterious good-Samaritan (hated by the French commoners, adored by the British aristocracy) is known only as the “Scarlet Pimpernel.” His alter ego is the carefree, wealthy, and handsome Sir Percy Blakeny, who, with his wife, Marguerite, are the toast of English society.
What kind of character do you get from a self-absorbed and vain Englishman, you might ask? Here is my answer: A hero who can keep you at the edge of your seats, providing a page-turning adventure, as well as one of the most romantic characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. While dandies are considered “air heads,” it is finding that their heads are not simply filled with nonsense which makes them such enduring characters. Just remember, beneath that foppish exterior lies a hero.
If you’re out to make a splash, cheri,
(From the musical “The Scarlet Pimpernel”
Marie Lu | February 7, 2007
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