Prof. Cora Agatucci

Literary Genres

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Genre Theory & Criticism
Historical Fiction Annotated Bibliography

Siegel, Kristi (Assistant Professor, English, Mount Mary College, Milwaukee, WI).
Introduction to Modern Literary Criticism: Literary Trends and Influences (2001).  
URL: http://www.geocities.com/kristisiegel/theory.htm
[last accessed March 2002].
Genre Criticism: "Study of different forms or types of literature. Genre studies often focus on the characteristics, structures, and conventions attributed to different forms of literature, e.g., the novel, short story, poem, drama, film, etc. More recent inquiry in genre criticism centers on the bias often inherent in genre criticism such as its latent (or overt) racism and sexism."  The "Genre Criticism" entry on this webpage includes bibliographies for fiction, poetry, drama, & short story.

Jones, Joel.  Howells The Leatherwood God: The Model in Method for the American Historical Novel.  Explicator 51.2 (Winter 1993): 96 (8pp).  EBSCOHost  Academic Search Elite 2000; Article No. 9307130070.  [Full text available.]

Cora's Abstract: Jones applies an Aristotelian perspective to defining the literary genre of the historical novel and to analyzing The Leatherwood God (1916), the first attempt to write an historical novel by author William Dean Howell, U.S. champion of literary realism.  Jones's discussion of Howells objections to the historical romance contrasted to his advocacy of literary realism and his practice in The Leatherwood God, are useful in distinguishing these different modes of historical fiction.

Its not history.  Its fiction.
--William Rainbolt

Rainbolt, William (Dept. of English, Univ. of Albany-SUNY).  "He Disagreed with the History, But He Liked the Story."  Writing History / Writing Fiction: A Virtual Conference Session.  History and MultiMedia Center, University at Albany-SUNY 
URL: http://www.albany.edu/history/hist_fict/Rainbolt/Rainboltes.htm
[last accessed March 2002].
Rainbolt, a creative writer, journalism teacher, and Ph.D. in history, considers various definitions of the genre and discusses his own approach to writing historical fiction.  He concludes that the imaginative experience is "not escaping, but confronting life through literature."
Levie, Barbara [Evanstan Library, Illinois]. Historical Fiction Authors (June 1995).
URL: http://www.evanston.lib.il.us/library/bibliographies/bdl3.html
[last accessed March 2002].
Librarian Levie offers a list of authors who write historical fiction, categorized by time period.

"The historian, if honest, gives us a photograph;
the storyteller gives us a painting."

From "Historical Fiction for our Global Times", Leon Garfield
(qtd. by Barbara Levie, Historical Fiction Authors).

Mallon, Thomas (Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore).  "History, Fiction, and the Burden of Truth."  Writing History / Writing Fiction: A Virtual Conference Session.  History and MultiMedia Center, University at Albany-SUNY 
URL: http://www.albany.edu/history/hist_fict/Mallon/Mallons.htm
[last accessed March 2002].
"At a time when important filmmakers and serious novelists are turning to historical subjects with unusual frequency, their audiences find themselves left to ponder and preserve the distinctions between facts and fabrications."  Mallon, himself an historical novelist, does not believe that "the genre, even when done well, rises to a higher truth than perceptively written history. The literal truth, of things judicial as well as historical, is preferable to any subjective one. However differently experienced by its participants, and prejudicially interpreted by their heirs, historical events happened one way and one way only. It's only their meaning that's open to interpretation."  Yet "two occasions...best call for the historical novelist: when the facts have been lost to time, and when a time has been lost to the facts."
Mallon, Thomas.  Writing Historical Fiction.  American Scholar 61.4 (Fall 1992): 604 (6pp). EBSCOHost Academic Search Elite, 2001:  AN [Item number] 9302010352.  [NOTE: COCC Library subscribes to EBSCOHost] 
See Introduction to Historical Fiction: Mallon
Mitchell, Reid (Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore).  "Imaginary Evidence: The Historical Fiction of Alice Munro."  Writing History / Writing Fiction: A Virtual Conference Session.  History and MultiMedia Center, University at Albany-SUNY 
URL: http://www.albany.edu/history/hist_fict/Mitchell/Mitchelles.htm
[last accessed March 2002].
"[T]he historical method, which begins with collecting fragmentary evidence, like an archaeologist his potsherds or the paleontologist his few bones of some great beast, does not have to smooth contradictions and ambiguity into conventional narrative. Like much 20th century fiction, it can instead leave much of the work to the readers, deny them the authorial voice, and ultimately leave the complete story unknown. Most historians prefer to leave the reconstructions and ambiguities to the footnotes and cloak their interpretations in authority. But the writer of historical fiction should see opportunity where the professors fear to tread. Writers such as Alice Munro have used the imprecision of history to create a literature of uncertainty, fiction in which the author refuses to reassure us that we know for sure what really happens....Alice Munro's 'A Wilderness Station' is a particularly fine example of how imaginary evidence may be used. It is told entirely by 'documents': letters written in the 1850s, recollections in a 1907 newspaper, and a reminiscence written in 1959...."
Quinn, Mary Ellen.  "Reference on the Web: Historical Fiction Sites."   Booklist  96.15 (1 April 2000): 1492. EBSCOHost Academic Search Elite, 2001:  AN [Item number] 2998088.  [NOTE: COCC Library subscribes to EBSCOHost] 
Quinn reviews "several historical fiction Web sites,"  including "`Fictional Rome,' by Fred Mench; `Of Ages Past: The Online Magazine for Historical Fiction,' edited by Trace Edward Zaber; and `Soon's Historical Fiction Site,' by Soon Y. Choi."

"What is history but a fable agreed upon?"
- Napoleon B (qtd. by Soon Y. Choi)

Soon Y. Choi (Graduate School of Business, University of Texas at Austin).  Soon's Historical Fiction Site.
Old (?) URL: http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~soon/histfiction/index.html 
[last accessed Feb. 2002].
New (?) URL: http://home.austin.rr.com/histfiction/index.html
[last accessed March 2002].
Soon's Historical Fiction Site provides a list of resources on historical fiction and novels including a FAQ, and a master list of historical fiction writers and links. Compiled from the archives of rec.arts.books.hist-fiction.
Soon Y. Choi.  An (Almost) Complete Guide to
Historical Fiction Reference Books
Soon's Historical Fiction Site.
URL: http://home.austin.rr.com/histfiction/references.html
[last accessed March 2002].
Part A. On Selection Criteria Used by Reference Books
Part B. Historical Fiction Reference Books
Sarricks, Joyce (Literature & Audio Services Coordinator, Downers Grove Public Library, Downers Grove, IL).  "Writers & Readers: Historical Fiction--Rules of the Genre."  Booklist 1 April 1999.  Rpt. NoveList News June 1999.  [ NoveList News is produced in the Durham, NC office of NoveList, a division of EBSCO Publishing].
URL: http://novelist.epnet.com/nlwebp/NoveListNews/nlnews9906.htm
[Last accessed March 2002].

Related Topics:

Agatucci, Cora (Professor of English, Central Oregon Community College, Bend, OR).
Genre Studies: Fiction. English 104: Introduction to Literature: Fiction (Fall 2001).
URL: http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/eng104/genre.htm 
[last accessed March 2002].
Ann Charters defines genre as "a type of literary work, such as short story, novel, essay, play, or poem. The term may also be used to classify literature within a type, such as science-fiction stories or detective novels. In film, the term refers to a recognizable type of movie, such as a western or a thriller, that follow familiar narrative or visual conventions"  ("Glossary of Literary Terms," The Story and Its Writer, 983; qtd. in Agatucci).  Agatucci's annotated bibliography focuses on the short story, with some film adaptation resources.
Joseph, Betty.  "Re(Playing) Crusoe/Pocahontas: Circum-Atlantic Stagings in The Female American."  Criticism  43.3 (Summer 2001): 317 (19pp). EBSCOHost Academic Search Elite, 2001:  AN [Item number] 5489128.
[NOTE: COCC Library subscribes to EBSCOHost] 
Abstract: "Considers the 1767 anonymous novel The Female American as a text that rewrites Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe by creating the figure of Pocahontas. Process of surrogation employed in the novel; Deflected trajectory that the female historical figure of Pocahontas manages to effect; Contesting of the conventional readings of transatlantic journeys as nationalistic exercises; Re-situation of the text within a postcolonial critical matrix."
Martin, William.  "First-Person Narrators in Historical Fiction."  Writer 113.2 (Feb. 2000): 7 (5pp). Rpt. EBSCOHost Academic Search Elite, 2001:  AN [Item number] 2705104.  [NOTE: COCC Library subscribes to EBSCOHost] 
Cora's Abstract:  Martin discusses first-person narrative techniques used in historical fictions and compares the focus of historians and novelists.
Reames-Zimmerman, Jeanne. 
Beyond Renault: Alexander the Great in Fiction

[last accessed Feb. 2002].
Cora's Abstract: This website offers a listing, with (academic) reviews, of 20th Century fiction (all genres) which features Alexander the Great, and has garnered a "Top 5% Award" from "Alexander the Great on the Web."
Schmunk, Robert B.  "Introduction."  Uchronia: The Alternate History List. (1991-2002).  
URL:  http://www.uchronia.net/intro.html 
[last accessed Feb. 2002].
Uchronia or "alternate history" involves the "what ifs" of history.



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URL of this webpage: http://www.cocc.edu/cagatucci/classes/eng339/biblio/genre.htm
Last Updated: 13 April 2002

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Humanities Department, Central Oregon Community College
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Cora Agatucci, 1997-2002
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