Constructing a World: Shakespeare's England and the New Historical Fiction

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SUNY Press, Jan 1, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 206 pages
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Taking its title from Umberto Eco s postscript to The Name of the Rose, the novel that inaugurated the New Historical Fiction in the early 1980s, Constructing the World provides a guide to the genre s defining characteristics. It also serves as a lively account of the way Shakespeare, Marlowe, Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth I, and their contemporaries have been depicted by such writers as Anthony Burgess, George Garrett, Patricia Finney, Barry Unsworth, and Rosalind Miles. Innovative historical novels written during the past two or three decades have transformed the genre, producing some extraordinary bestsellers as well as less widely read serious fiction. Shakespearean scholar Martha Tuck Rozett engages in an ongoing conversation about the genre of historical fiction, drawing attention to the metacommentary contained in Afterwords or Historical Notes ; the imaginative reconstruction of the diction and mentality of the past; the way Shakespearean phrases, names, and themes are appropriated; and the counterfactual scenarios writers invent as they reinvent the past.
 

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Contents

Introduction Historical Fiction Old and New
1
Of Narrators or How the Teller Tells the Tale
27
Historical Novelists at Work George Garrett and Anthony Burgess
49
Barry Unsworths Morality Play and the Origins of English Secular Drama
83
Fictional Queen Elizabeths and WomenCentered Historical Fiction
103
Rewriting Shakespeare The Henriad with and without Fahtaff
143
Teaching Shakespeares England through Historical Fiction
165
Notes
177
Works Cited
185
Index
199
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Martha Tuck Rozett is Professor of English at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is the author of Talking Back to Shakespeare and The Doctrine of Election and the Emergence of Elizabethan Tragedy.

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