Constructing a World: Shakespeare’s England and the New Historical Fiction
This work of criticism is the first I’ve seen that examines trends in historical fiction since the 1980s, when literary novelists began claiming the genre for their own. While much of Dr. Rozett’s examples are taken from Elizabethan historicals (George Garrett, Barry Unsworth, Robin Maxwell), the themes she explores can apply to any era. In the “new historical fiction,” she explains, authors recognize a multiplicity of possible truths and freely question the solutions to historical puzzles. In constructing fictional worlds based on thorough historical research, they have done what was once thought impossible: they’ve made the genre academically respectable. Scholars of historical fiction would do well to read this groundbreaking work.