'A New Type of History'

Fictional Proposals for dealing with the Past
by Beverley Southgate
rrp $84.89

Publisher: Taylor and Francis

Series: Routledge Approaches to History

Publication Date: May 22, 2015

ISBN: 9781317431121

Binding: Kobo eBook

Availability: eBook

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Linking fiction with history and historical theory, 'A New Type of History': Fictional Proposals for dealing with the Past focuses on a selection of nineteenth- and twentieth-century novelists – Tolstoy, Proust, John Cowper Powys, Virginia Woolf, Wyndham Lewis, Penelope Lively, and James Hamilton-Paterson – who have criticized scientifically based history and proposed alternative ways of approaching the past: more subjective and personal, colourful and imaginative, and above all ethically orientated. In this, it is argued, they have been reverting to an earlier rhetorical model for history, which is now being increasingly adopted by practising historians. This ‘new type of history’ may lack the claimed ‘objectivity’ and ‘truth’ of its immediate predecessor, but it opens the way for an ethically focused subject that may be used (in Nietzsche’s words) ‘for the purpose of life’.

Providing a new take on both novelists and historiography, and ranging widely from the nineteenth century to the present day, this cross-disciplinary study will be valuable reading for all those interested in the intersection and interplay between fiction and history.