The proliferation of historical novels with more or less overt metafictional traits in the late seventies and eighties in Britain is a particularly arresting phenomenon at a time when historians are openly questioning the validity of the traditional concept of history understood as a scientific search for knowledge. This apparent contradiction justifies the attempt made by the contributors of this volume to analize the relationship between history and literature in English.
The reader will find four preliminary essays on The End of the Classical Period establishing the characteristics of the appropriation of history since the appearance of Sir Walter Scott's historical romances with special emphasis on the Victorian novel (Dickens, Eliot, Mrs Humphry Ward), the Irish ballad and Post-Independence Indian historical fiction, as a necessary preface to the main group of essays on The Postmodernist Era devoted to establishing the common as well as the individually distinctive traits in the writings of some of the most accomplished contemporary writers in English: the more centered British novelists Margaret Drabble, Julian Barnes and William Golding as well as the more ex-centric Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie and Jeanette Winterson plus the playwright Caryl Churchill, and the black American novelist David Bradley.
Foreword. INTRODUCTION. Susana ONEGA: A Knack for Yarns: The Narrativization of History and the End of History. PART I: THE END OF THE CLASSICAL PERIOD. Andrew SANDERS: Sixty Years Since: Victorian Historical Fiction from Dickens to Eliot. Maria Dolores HERRERO: Mary A. Ward's Theism as Reflected in Roberto Elsmere: An Illustration of the Ultimate Hegelian Paradox. Maria Pilar PULIDO: The Ballad History of Ireland: The Poetic Legacy of the Young Ireland Movement. Felicity HAND: In the Shadow of the Mutiny: Reflections on Two Post-Independence Novels on the 1857 Uprising. PART II: THE POSTMODERNIST ERA. Luisa JUAREZ: An Irreverent Chronicle: History and Fiction in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children. Marita NADAL: William Golding's Rites of Passage: a World in Transition. Chantal CORNUT-GENTILLE: The Personal is Political in Caryl Churchill's Top Girls: a Parable for the Feminist Movement in Thatcher's Britain. Maria LOZANO: How You Cuddle in the Dark Governs How You See the History of the World: A Note on Some Obsessions in Recent British Fiction. Susana ONEGA: I'm Telling You Stories. Trust Me: History/Story-telling in Jeanette Winterson's Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. Angeles de la CONCHA: Drabble's Gate to the End of History. Celestino DELEYTO: We Are No Angels: Woman versus History in Angela Carter's Wise Children. Jesus BENITO: David Bradley's The Chaneysville Incident: The Narrator as Historian. BIBLIOGRAPHY AND FILM REFERENCES. INDEX.