Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


20.8.06
  Finally, the Five Book Meme, With a Twist

Some time ago, a 'Your Favourite Five Historical Novels'-meme made the rounds, but I had so much on my brain I never got to it. Not to mention I can't for the life of me, restrict my favourite historical fiction novels to five. Thus I decided to give it a bit of a twist and present the

Five Historical Novels You Blame for Writing Historical Fiction-meme

1) Rosemary Sutcliff, The Eagle of the Ninth
I loved her books since childhood, but The Eagle of the Ninth is the one that made me write a novel with a Roman Britain setting as second book (The Charioteer, formerly The Tribune of the Lost Fort, a still ongoing project). As (1a) I name Hans Baumann, Ich zog mit Hannibal, a YA novel about Hannibal's Italian War.

2) Lev Tolstoy, War and Peace
I wrote War and Peace fanfiction before the word was invented. So there. :)

3) Sir Walter Scott, Ivanhoe
This book stands for a number of books by Scott, Alexandre Dumas (I fell in love with Athos from The Three Musketeers), Wilhelm Hauff and other 19th century writers of historical novels that I always loved. One I should mention as (3a) is the German author Felix Dahn whose Kampf um Rom got me interested in the Goths. And of course, (3b) Forester's Hornblower books.

4) Laxdoela Saga
and other Icelandic sagas; not only subject of my academic studies, but a love and in some way, a model for my own writing. I should name (4a) a German YA book, Barbara Bartos-Höppner's Tausend Schiffe trieb der Wind, about the Vikings in Ireland, as well.

5) The Illiad
and other epics from the Song of Roland to the Song of the Niblungs. I read the Illiad when I was eight, and epics have always stuck with me. As academic subject as well. In a way, (5a) Tolkien's Lord of the Rings belongs in the list despite the fact it isn't Historical Fiction. It surely has the heroic elements of a good epic which I have to try and modernise, de-mythicise, without losing what makes such characters so appealing

More recent influences are the Arthur and Saxon books by Bernard Cornwell, the Mediaeval novels of Umberto Eco with their amazing worldbuilding and background, and when it comes to meticulous research, Sharon Kay Penman and Rebecca Gablé. My interest in the books of Halldór Laxness is the logical continuation of the Icelandic sagas; he has taught me much. That also goes for Thomas Mann's Joseph-trilogy, an epic-philosophical take on the Biblical story that in some way closes the circle to War and Peace.
 
Comments:
Dearly love "Eagle of the Ninth"
And various sagas.
 
Nice twist! Have to check out Rebecca Gable.
 
Susan,
she writes in German.
 
Interesting blog, Gabrielle. It made me start to think of my 5 top historicals. Hmmm will have to ponder this and write a reply on my "Conversations with Myself" blog
 
There's something incredibly intellectual about the idea of War and Peace fanfiction :-) I take off my hat to you.

Interesting list - the concept isn't unlike Elizabeth Chadwick's list of novels that influenced her writing, but the titles are very different! I never could get on with Ivanhoe - too wordy for me and it seemed to take forever for anything to happen.
 
Lol Carla,
I invented the most stunning Mary Sue you can imagine, that should make up for the intellectual subject matter. ;)
 
It's such a shame that Rebecca Gable's novels haven't been translated into English yet. I'm sure they'd be popular, especially given that they're set in England.
 
It's one of the reasons I write in English. Chance is that should my books make decent sales, they will be translated to German, but never the other way round.

And I think some of you would indeed like to read them. ;)
 
Surfing on in.

I too would have to blame Rosemary Sutcliff, although possibly in my case it was Outcast rather than The Eagle of the Ninth. I would also have, I think Georgette Heyer, possibly Friday's Child. Then perhaps I Claudius. Not sure about the other two - I read such a lot as a child.
 
Hi Cas,
thank you for visiting. I agree, I, Claudius is a very interesting book.
 
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The Lost Fort is a blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK and other places, with essays on Roman and Mediaeval history illustrated with lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes. You may also find the odd essay about geology or Mediaeval literature.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)


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