Monday, June 4, 2012

Sharing a Link: Danger of Superficial History in Fiction

Read this blog post and was reminded why I'm compelled to write the characters I am writing:

The Danger of Superficial History in Fiction

I like the look of the Regency, for instance. Jane Austen. Bath. Empire dresses. Balls.

But I've become interested in the real history of the Georgian and Regency eras as well and irritated by the endless drove of dukes and other assorted nobles. Any time Ireland is mentioned at this time, of course, I know what that really means. Or any time someone mentions a plantation on Jamaica, that means slavery. Or India: colonization. Macau and Canton: colonization, opium.

As one learns about the real history and the personalities of the time, you start thinking, "Well, where is all of this stuff in my historical romance novels?"

When I thought up the fictional family in my WIP, I started researching for real families of the Georgian era like them. I'm biracial, but that doesn't mean that I read a book and go, "Where's the ethnic minority in this story?" I tend to find the token minority an eyeroll-worthy experience. On the one hand, let's not pretend that the British aristocracy in the late 1700s were all-accepting of other types of people or religions. Let's not pretend that they are all mixed-race in some way. But on the other hand, let's not pretend that the late 1700s was necessarily a time when different people of different races never met or interacted.

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