Lecture, Central London, Wednesday, 1 Mar 2023 - 18:00

Historical Fiction from Sir Walter Scott to Georgette Heyer and Hilary Mantel

Fairytale castle floating in clouds

Until the 1970s, historical fiction was a scorned genre that belonged to Georgette Heyer and Jean Plaidy. Over recent decades, literary fiction has turned back to History, from Hilary Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell trilogy to Helen Dunmore, Francis Spufford and Eleanor Catton. In the nineteenth century the historical novel had been more respected, with examples (sometimes impressive, sometimes absurd) from Scott, Dickens, and George Eliot.

This lecture will examine the genre’s vicissitudes (while noticing Georgette Heyer’s novelistic virtues).

John Mullan, Visiting Professor of English Literature

Professor John Mullan

Visiting Professor of English Literature

Professor John Mullan is the Lord Northcliffe Chair of Modern English Literature at University College London. He is a specialist in eighteenth-century literature and is at present writing the volume of the Oxford English Literary History that will cover the period from 1709 to 1784.

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