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Thread: Pet peeves in historical romance

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  1. #35
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Where faults collide
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris P View Post
    In a separate thread, I debated bringing up how books written at the time of a historical event differ from those written afterward, as we as a society digest what the events meant and how they affected us. Compare the non-fic My Year of the Great War by Frederick Palmer, published in 1915 before WWI became what it was, with Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front, published in 1929, with The Guns of August (again, non-fic) by Barbara Tuchman published in 1962 and with the hindsight of the WWII. It's hard to not say "Ooooh, Chamberlain's meeting with Hitler isn't going to quite go how he expects."
    Definitely true. Sometimes it takes a while to grasp the long-term implications of something. I suppose this means the characters we create for historical novels can never be truly true to life examples of their own times, but novels are always written for contemporary readers first and foremost. Only a handful continue to be widely read decades, let alone centuries, later.

    I was thinking of this while reading that "do you incorporate Covid-19 into your contemporary novel?" thread.

    But future literature scholars will likely study romance novels through the lens of the time they were written, not the time they portray. My husband took an odd lit class in college, or maybe it was his highschool (he went to a really progressive school) that examined genre romance and genre westerns as examples of archetypal masculinity and femininity in works created by and for women in one case and in works created by and for men in the second.

    Interestingly, westerns as a genre are pretty much dead now, while romance is still going strong. Is this simply because women read fiction more than men do nowadays (but other genres that cater to men are still doing okay, like spy thrillers). Or is it because the archetypal masculinity and femininity, as filtered through romance tropes/motifs/plots etc. are more adaptable to female readers changing concepts of maleness and femaleness?
    Last edited by Roxxsmom; 10-13-2020 at 08:02 AM.
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