Wednesday, November 03, 2010

A Bookish Conundrum

I was trying to get my mom to read Pride and Prejudice today because she just got done reading a modern retelling of it and didn't really like it that much because she hadn't read the original. After explaining what it was about, she was reluctant to read it because she doesn't like historical fiction.

Which made me wonder something...

If a book that whose setting was contemporary at the time it was written, now that time has passed, is it considered historical fiction.

Take Pride and Prejudice, for example. Ignoring the fact that it's usually branded nowadays as a classic, is it historical fiction? Austen wrote about her own time period, which would be the equivalent of today's young adult fiction set in modern high schools. So 140 years from now, will those books be considered historical fiction, even though they were contemporary for the period they were written in?

Anyway, my brain thinks of weird things this late at night...


Jess (The Cozy Reader) said...

That's a great question! I'd classify all of Jane Austin's work as classic literature. While it's not modern I think it's safe to call it historical to our time frame.

If someone doesn't like historical books then they probably won't love Jane Austin's work. :(

M.A.D. said...

Mary D

That's a valid point. Not weird at all, because *classical* literature will categorically broaden as time marches on.

And I agree with Jess, if historical fiction is not to a person's taste, they most likely won't care for Austen's novels.

ps - Has your mom ever read Wuthering Heights? That may give her the nudge to further explore the classics, as it is such an incredible read... *Heathcliff* - swoonworthy!

Bookish in a Box said...

I hadn't thought about this before...Personally, I don't think classic literature counts as historical fiction. I don't read much of it, but I think historical fiction is written to appeal to a modern audience while classic works were written to appeal to a long ago audience. It's weird to think that someday some of the books we read now will be considered classics!