Joy over at Fullness of Joy is celebrating her blog’s third anniversary with a daily tag that will last 7 days and cover the most popular book genres. I won’t be doing every tag, as not every genre has my full attention as a reader, but I’ll be doing several of them. Run over and see for yourself! In the meantime, I answer some questions about Historical Fiction.
Books! We really do love them. . . but we all have preferences of what kind of books we love best. What is your favourite genre to read from (and to write in, if you happen to be a writer too)? Could you tell us why? My favorite genre to read is, over-archingly, high fantasy. I love it because it’s such a canvas to color on – you don’t have to stick to the confines of reality. You can play with the very fabric of nature, from big things – magic, for example – to the small things, like giving a person gold eyes and the ability to shape-shift into a cat. The possibilities are quite literally endless.
Are you fond of classic literature or do you generally find them too “dry” and hard-going for your tastes? Alternately, how much of your reading diet consists of books written by authors of the 21st century? Are you more fond of the old books or the new. . . or maybe a little bit of both? I’m not generally a fan of classics, particularly Russian classics. They’re too pompous and fatalistic for my taste; but that’s not to say I don’t enjoy any historical novels. Probably forty percent of what I read was written before the 21st century.
What is your favorite historical time period and setting? How did you come to be especially interested in it? Would you be happy to live in that time-period or era? My favorite historical time period and setting to read, watch or write would be the second century through the sixteenth or so, although I doubt I would want to live in them for long. Is that too much for you?
List three of your favourite classic authors (authors from the 1500s and up to the very early 1900s such as Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Bronte sisters, Robert Louis Stevenson, Mark Twain etc. . . )? What makes you love them so much? Oscar Wilde is my first choice; his wit and sense of humor are perfect. G. K. Chesterton would be next, because he was a brilliant thinker and an imaginative author, which leads to both brilliant fiction and non-fiction. Thirdly, I would pick Alexandre Dumas; because you really can’t beat the Musketeers.
What type of “Historical classic” is your favorite: Adventure and exploration, romance, mystery, social, memoir, or political? Adventure and romance; such as Jenny F’s The Shadow Things, or any novel by Rosemary Sutcliff.
Share some of your most well-loved heroines from historical novels in literature, and why you love them so much! What virtues/traits in them would you like to attain yourself? The Grand Sophy would make the top of my list because there is a great deal of me in her, from her appearance to her doing whatever she likes whether it’s the social norm or not to her wonderful and irritating sense of humor.
8. Who are your favourite heroes from historical literature? (You may share up to five). What makes them stand out among the rest as special? Who doesn’t love Sir Percy Blakeney? Or Athos, Porthos and Aramis? Or Charles Rivenhall? Every single one of them is swoon-worthy.
List your favourite “classic” novels. . . (as this is a painful question, you may list more than one!) The Three Musketeers, The Scarlet Pimpernel, The Grand Sophy, The Phantom of the Opera (why are Gaston Leroux books so bloody hard to find, dagnabbit?) Ivanhoe (too far back?) and the Emily Starr novels (because while I am always compared to Anne Shirley, I always feel more kinship with Emily. And now I need to re-read them.)
Which period-drama movies, (adaptions from historical classic works of fiction), fall under your favorite pile? Do you prefer the more modern adaptions or the old ones? Faithful renditions, or the more exciting ones? Oh, goodness – BBC’s Sense & Sensibility, Pride & Prejudice (both BBC and the 2007 version), the completely frivolous new Three Musketeers, and the 1982 Scarlet Pimpernel. I’m sure there are many more movie adaptions, but those are the best I can think of.
Which historical classic has inspired and influenced you the most? I think every couple I write has a bit of Bennet/Darcy going on, and it’s all Austen’s fault.
Give a list (preferably with pictures!) of your favorite period drama costumes (hats, hoops, gloves, parasols, etc) and from which movie/character they come from. I wanted to do this. I did. But every piece I thought of, I could not find. I apologize.
Think of the funniest “scene” in either a book or movie from classic literature, and share the quote/picture below (Gifs and animations allowed!) The entirety of the Grand Sophy, but here is one of my favorite scenes –
Sophy looked at him. Under his amazed and horrified gaze, large tears slowly welled over her eyelids, and rolled down her cheeks. She did not sniff, or gulp, or even sob: merely allowed her tears to gather and fall.
‘Sophy, for God’s sake do not cry!’
‘Oh, do not stop me!’ begged Sophy. ‘Sir Horace says it is my only accomplishment.’
Mr. Rivenhall glared at her. ‘What!’
‘Very few persons are able to do it!’ Sophy assured him. ‘I discovered it by the veriest accident when I was seven years old. Sir Horace said I should cultivate it, for I would find it most useful.’
‘You – you – ‘ Words failed Mr. Rivenhall. ‘Stop at once!’
Which villain of historical literature strikes the most dread and loathing in you? This is difficult. Pick any Dickens villain and you have as near to the devil as literature can offer.
How many Charles Dickens novels have you read? Do you enthusiastically love his stories, or sob in misery over them, or worse get bored by them? I’m not a fan of Charles Dickens. I’m just not. Therefore I’ve never read one fully. I have seen a few movies, but I don’t like those much, either. Too bleak.
(do you see what I did there)
Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, or Elizabeth Gaskall? Bronte, because I love a good gothic novel and I think the Bronte sisters were beautiful poets.
Favourite French Revolution novel? The Scarlet Pimpernel.
North and South or Pride and Prejudice? Mr. Darcy or Mr. Thornton? Pride and Prejudice; Elizabeth Gaskall kills characters off like flies, and her stories are just…very…depressing. In spite of Mr. Thornton.
What would inspire you to pick up a historical piece of literature – namely a “classic”? Do you believe it is important for our generation to get back to reading the classics? What do you believe are both the benefits, negatives and overall effects of treasuring historical stories written by authors of the past?
Honestly, I believe many ‘classic’ novels are over-rated and some of them are downright bad influences. The Scarlet Letter, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and the like are fine reading if you want to merely appreciate a classic author, but they don’t teach valuable life lessons, nor do they encourage the reader. I believe ‘classic’ novels, while not exactly better written, were written more intelligently simply because society as a whole was more intelligent, and therefore reading them can improve the mind and expand the vocabulary. Other than that, I believe it’s all a matter of taste.