Historical Novel (British)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

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Nathan Uglow (Trinity All Saints, Leeds)

The historical novel is a literary genre characterized by the attempt to fuse strong dramatic plot lines and credible human psychology, within a setting constituted from specific historical detail (typically based upon diligent research into actual events, locations, and characters, as well as cultural customs, costume, and speech).

By common consent, the founder of this genre was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), whose numerous novels starting with Waverley in 1814, unleashed a passion for the historical novel among readers and writers that remains strong to this day. The impact of the genre on Romantic Europe was swift and decisive, contributing to the privileged place that historical consciousness has henceforth come to e…

2507 words

Citation: Uglow, Nathan. "Historical Novel (British)". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1213, accessed 07 February 2023.]

1213 Historical Novel (British) 2 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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