University Press Copublishing Division / Bucknell University Press
Trim: 6½ x 9¼
978-1-61148-782-4 • Hardback • August 2016 • $116.00 • (£89.00)
978-1-61148-784-8 • Paperback • March 2018 • $51.99 • (£40.00)
978-1-61148-783-1 • eBook • August 2016 • $49.00 • (£38.00)
Martha F. Bowden is professor of English at Kennesaw State University.
PART I: WALTER SCOTT AND THE ROMANCE OF HISTORY1 Walter Scott and Contemporary Historical Fiction, or ’Tis Two Hundred Years Since
2 The Romance of History
PART II: CREATING AUTHENTICITY THROUGH INTERTEXTUALITY3 Intertextuality and Authenticity: The Art of the Significant Reference
4 The Picture in the Parlor: History Painting, Portraiture, and the Romance of History
PART III: THE METAMORPHOSIS OF THE HISTORICAL ROMANCE5 Bodies Changed into Other Bodies: Variety of Forms in Contemporary Historical Fiction
6 The Biographical Romance
7 The Historical Novel at Play
Walter Scott’s works shaped historical fiction as we now know it, and Bowden (Kennesaw State Univ.) argues that, far from abandoning Scott’s parameters, contemporary historical novelists continue to work within them. Above all, what novelists have inherited from Scott is “romance,” which counterpoints the past’s difference by evoking otherwise unrecorded individual emotions and a sense of “wonder.” For Bowden, this interplay of emotion, wonder, and authenticity makes a successful historical novel—one that, as she repeatedly says, can illuminate the “grey spaces” of individual lives otherwise left obscure. She praises historically appropriate intertextual and visual references (such as Jane Stevenson’s use of Othello and Susan Sontag’s of portraits of Emma Hamilton); argues that yoking the historical novel to other genres, like detective fiction or the Gothic, brings lost stories of personal life into a historical framework; demonstrates that biographical fiction can make the historically predetermined life of a figure like Aphra Behn “strange” once more; and suggests that historical fantasies like Lisa See's Peony in Love (2007) and Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (2004) narrate aspects of cultural or historical difference that resist straightforward, realist representation. An accessible, unapologetically evaluative study. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.
— Choice Reviews
Bowden's book offers many innovative insights.... This book resembles an encyclopedia, something for everyone, with intriguing comments and examples as we go along.
— The Eighteenth-Century Intelligencer