Historical fiction occupies an uncertain space in the field of children's literature. Offer a teacher or scholar a work of historical fiction in any genre, from picture book to novel, and you are sure to get a varied, contentious response about what makes historical fiction work. Why? Because historical fiction has ambitious, ambiguous aims. For instance, should historical fiction be good history, even if this means the story might be, say, a little dull? Or, on the other hand, should the author take liberties with setting, dialogue, and character in order to provide the audience with "a good read?" What happens when a historical fiction contains no "famous" historical personages, or no clear identification as to when in history the story takes place? In short, what are we supposed to experience when we read historical fiction? History? Fiction?
A Poetics of History: Karen Cushman's Medieval WorldFaculty Publications
Date of Original Version4-1-1997
Citation InformationZornado, J. (1997). A poetics of history: Karen Cushman's medieval world. The Lion and the Unicorn, 21(2), 251-266. https://doi.org/10.1353/uni.1997.0045