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21799Re: A new novel about Tolkien

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  • davise@cs.nyu.edu
    Jan 13, 2011
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      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Darrell A. Martin" <darrellm@...> wrote:
      > De gustibus non est disputandum.

      On the contrary, one of the reasons I subscribe to a literary chat group is disputare about gustibus.

      > I think Ivanhoe is a good read, but it bothers me. My junior high
      > English teacher did not mention that the book was not history. I thought
      > Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe was a real person for years. That is not Scott's
      > fault, but I still resented finding out much later that my views on 12th
      > Century England were based on literary invention.

      But that would apply to any kind of historical fiction whether or not it contains historical persons. After all, your misconceptions about 12th c. England would have been much the same even if the Black Knight had not turned out to be King Richard and even if you had realized that Sir Wilfred was a fictional character.

      I'll agree that it is very annoying if a real person or event whom you care about is portrayed inaccurately in a work of fiction. (And not just real people, as we have certainly discussed on this list!) But, for myself, though that happens occasionally, it doesn't happen very often. It is much more common that I have encountered historical periods, or events, or people, for the first time through historical fiction (or at least for the first time in any depth); and overall the knowledge I have gained is much greater than the misconceptions acquired.

      -- Ernie
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