Havoc in History House single work   criticism  
Issue Details: First known date: 2006 2006
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'As professional historians bicker, novelists are staking a claim for the primacy of fictional truth in making sense of the past.' (Editor's headline)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Archival Salvage : History’s Reef and the Wreck of the Historical Novel A. Frances Johnson , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , Special Issue vol. 11 no. 1 2011; (p. 1-21)
'In recent years debates about the ethics of portraying Indigenous subjects and subject matter have almost been superseded by circular debates about 'true' Australian history and who has the right to tell it. This has been disappointing in a context of the morally and formally imaginative speculations of historians such as Tom Griffiths, Fiona Paisley, Stephen Kinnane and Greg Dening, and also in a context of Indigenous studies Professor Marcia Langton's evidently too-hopeful calls for the activation of a shared cultural space. But as this local debate has become more heated, more public, the oddest spectacle of all in recent years was the recent lambasting of historical novelists.

Novelist Kate Grenville was a particular target of attack. Notable historians such as Mark McKenna, John Hirst and Inga Clendinnen vociferously condemned dramatic accounts of the past as anachronistic, unethical and, most curious of all in relation to the fictioneer's job description, untrue. I revisit the 'history wars' stoush to argue that these historians overlooked the suasion of broader, local political battles to determine and culturally enshrine particular narratives of Australian pasts; I argue that they also eschewed the linguistic turn of postmodernism and the contributions made therein by prominent historical scholars in their own field such as Hayden White and Dominic LaCapra. The paper finally shows how Grenville, Kim Scott and other novelists have engaged with colonial archival materials, deploying particular narrative techniques that enable them to generate compelling postcolonial dramatisations of colonial pasts. (Author's abstract)
Comfort History Mark McKenna , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 18-19 March 2006; (p. 15)
In countering Stella Clarke's 'Havoc in History House', McKenna writes that Clarke 'trivialised my [McKenna's] arguments to make it appear as a simple battle between imaginative historical fiction and the noble boredom of "insecure academics" chipping away in the drudgery within "the orthodoxies of salaried history processing".' McKenna states that he has never claimed 'that history should be left to the historians', he is simply trying to 'remind us of the differences between fiction and history, and point to the dangers and consequences of confusing the two.'
Novel Views of History Helen MacDonald , 2006 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 25-26 March 2006; (p. 14-15)
Helen MacDonald discusses Bradley's historical novel about dissection, The Resurrectionist, and her own non-fiction work on the same historical subject, Human Remains : Episodes in Human Dissection (Melbourne University Press, 2005), in light of the current interest in literary non-fiction and the arguments for and against history being presented by historians or novelists.
Comfort History Mark McKenna , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 18-19 March 2006; (p. 15)
In countering Stella Clarke's 'Havoc in History House', McKenna writes that Clarke 'trivialised my [McKenna's] arguments to make it appear as a simple battle between imaginative historical fiction and the noble boredom of "insecure academics" chipping away in the drudgery within "the orthodoxies of salaried history processing".' McKenna states that he has never claimed 'that history should be left to the historians', he is simply trying to 'remind us of the differences between fiction and history, and point to the dangers and consequences of confusing the two.'
Novel Views of History Helen MacDonald , 2006 single work essay
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 25-26 March 2006; (p. 14-15)
Helen MacDonald discusses Bradley's historical novel about dissection, The Resurrectionist, and her own non-fiction work on the same historical subject, Human Remains : Episodes in Human Dissection (Melbourne University Press, 2005), in light of the current interest in literary non-fiction and the arguments for and against history being presented by historians or novelists.
Archival Salvage : History’s Reef and the Wreck of the Historical Novel A. Frances Johnson , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , Special Issue vol. 11 no. 1 2011; (p. 1-21)
'In recent years debates about the ethics of portraying Indigenous subjects and subject matter have almost been superseded by circular debates about 'true' Australian history and who has the right to tell it. This has been disappointing in a context of the morally and formally imaginative speculations of historians such as Tom Griffiths, Fiona Paisley, Stephen Kinnane and Greg Dening, and also in a context of Indigenous studies Professor Marcia Langton's evidently too-hopeful calls for the activation of a shared cultural space. But as this local debate has become more heated, more public, the oddest spectacle of all in recent years was the recent lambasting of historical novelists.

Novelist Kate Grenville was a particular target of attack. Notable historians such as Mark McKenna, John Hirst and Inga Clendinnen vociferously condemned dramatic accounts of the past as anachronistic, unethical and, most curious of all in relation to the fictioneer's job description, untrue. I revisit the 'history wars' stoush to argue that these historians overlooked the suasion of broader, local political battles to determine and culturally enshrine particular narratives of Australian pasts; I argue that they also eschewed the linguistic turn of postmodernism and the contributions made therein by prominent historical scholars in their own field such as Hayden White and Dominic LaCapra. The paper finally shows how Grenville, Kim Scott and other novelists have engaged with colonial archival materials, deploying particular narrative techniques that enable them to generate compelling postcolonial dramatisations of colonial pasts. (Author's abstract)
Last amended 7 Mar 2006 10:09:30
X