Historical fiction is a sub-genre of fiction that often portrays alternate accounts or dramatization of historical figures or events. Stories in this genre, while fictional, make an honest attempt at capturing the spirit, manners, and social conditions of the person or time they represent with attention paid to detail and fidelity. Historical fiction is found in books, magazines, art, television, movies, games, theater, and other media.
Historical fiction presents readers with a story that takes place during a notable period in history, and usually during a significant event in that period.
Historical fiction often presents actual events from the point of view of people living in that time period.
In some historical fiction, famous events appear from points of view not recorded in history, showing historical figures dealing with actual events while depicting them in a way that is not recorded in history. Other times, the historical event complements a story's narrative, occurring in the background while characters deal with events (personal or otherwise) wholly unrelated to recorded history. Sometimes, historical fiction can be for the most part true, but the names of people and places have been in some way altered.
As this is fiction, artistic license is permitted in regard to presentation and subject matter, so long as it does not deviate in significant ways from established history. If events should deviate significantly, the story may then fall into the genre of alternate history, which is known for speculating on what could have happened if a significant historical event had gone differently. On a similar note, events occurring in historical fiction must adhere to the laws of physics. Stories that extend into the magical or fantastic are often considered historical fantasy.
Historical literature includes the works of authors that epitomize a specific period in history. Historical literature has been written since at least the 11th century BCE.samantha parshall
- Dianne Ascroft: Hitler and Mars Bars Fiction set against the backdrop of Irish Red Cross project, Operation Shamrock
- Jean M. Auel: The Earth's Children Series set in pre-historic Europe
- Adam Bagdasarian: Forgotten Fire
- L.E. Butler: Relief
- Caleb Carr: Wrote The Alienist and The Angel of Darkness
- James Clavell: The Asian Saga
- Bernard Cornwell: Sharpe series set in 19th century Europe and India, and other works set elsewhere.
- E.L. Doctorow: Ragtime
- Suzannah Dunn: The Queen's Sorrow and others
- Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose (Il nome della rosa, 1980)
- C. S. Forester: Hornblower series and others
- Philippa Gregory: The Other Boleyn Girl, The Constant Princess set in the Tudor era; Earthly Joys set in 17th century England, and other works.
- Noah Gordon: The Physician / The Shaman
- Conn Iggulden: Emperor series and Conqueror series
- Gary Jennings: Aztec (book), The Journeyer
- Morgan Llywelyn: author of books set mostly in Ireland.
- Lloyd Lofthouse: Used Sir Robert Hart, 1st Baronet as protagonist for My Splendid Concubine
- Colleen McCullough: Masters of Rome series of novels about the last years of the Roman Republic
- James Michener: 40+ epic novels, first famous work was Tales of the South Pacific.
- Anchee Min: Chinese-themed sagas Empress Orchid, The Last Empress (novel)
- William Napier: Wrote Attila trilogy
- Patrick O'Brian: Series of novels featuring Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin. Seen as one of the greatest recent exponents of the genre
- Naomi C. Desiderio: "Hell at Sea" is set aboard a German U-Boat during WWII.
- Jean Plaidy: several books, mostly about European queens and princesses
- HFM Prescott: author of The Man on a Donkey set during the dissolution of the monasteries.
- Linda Proud: author of The Botticelli Trilogy set in Renaissance Florence.
- Boleslaw Prus: Pharaoh
- Erich Maria Remarque: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Night in Lisbon.
- Mary Renault: wrote many novels set in ancient Greece
- Ann Rinaldi: 40+ young adult historical fiction novels, primarily set in the United States.
- Edward Rutherford: several epic novels including Sarum, Russka, and London
- Simon Scarrow: Eagle series of Roman military fiction
- Henryk Sienkiewicz: Quo Vadis (novel)
- Anne Easter Smith: Wars of the Roses series
- Wilbur Smith: Ancient Egypt Series
- Indu Sundaresan: The Twentieth Wife and sequel The Feast of Roses, fictionalized story of the Mughal empress Noor Jehan, set in 16th and 17th century Mughal Empire, India.
- Beverly Swerling: City of Dreams, City of Glory, Shadowbrook, and the forthcoming ''City of God" -- novels set in early days of the Mid-Atlantic States
- Harry Turtledove: Alternate history fiction
- Mark Twain: various works of historical fiction about the American South.
- Mika Waltari: numerous works of historical fiction, best known for his magnum opus The Egyptian (Sinuhe egyptiläinen)
- Jack Whyte: Camulod Chronicles / A Dream of Eagles, set in early fifth century Britain; also Templar Trilogy
- Marguerite Yourcenar: author of Memoirs of Hadrian and The Abyss.
Media and culture
Works of historical fiction are not reserved exclusively to literature. Many films have been created which attempt to use a historic event or setting as a backdrop and actors portray fictional or historic figures set in these events. Below are a few notable examples.
Film and television