Issue Details: First known date: 2009 2009
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Historians and the writers of historical fiction appear constantly at odds with each other. It would be more fitting if the way in which they complement each other was given due recognition. Historians seek to produce an interpretative account of the past bounded by a strict adherence to certain types of source material. This necessarily places a limitation on what they might write about the past. Writers of historical fiction, while using and doing justice to historical research, are not subject to the same limitations. They have more licence to use imaginative narrative to complement and extend the historical account. It must be recognised, however, that both disciplines are dealing with the human condition. As a result historians make use not only of primary sources, but also of imaginative writing from the era that they are studying. Writers of historical fiction, in turn, make use of the perceptive accounts of historians. Fundamentally, the limits placed on both disciplines are those derived from rationality. While members of the same rational family, they may have a different view of what counts as reasonable and this is not a cause for concern or contumely.

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Last amended 10 Aug 2010 15:27:52
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