c18 Historical fiction Writing

Sunday links

This interview with Cormac McCarthy is wonderful, thorough and crotchety, and since I’m not much a short-story writer myself, I’m oddly heartened by his lack of interest in writing them, or in delving into collaborative work in Hollywood, etc.:

WSJ: But is there something compelling about the collaborative process compared to the solitary job of writing?

CM: Yes, it would compel you to avoid it at all costs.

WSJ: How does that ticking clock affect your work? Does it make you want to write more shorter pieces, or to cap things with a large, all-encompassing work?

CM: I’m not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.

I actually didn’t like The Road much — shocking, I know, but I still prefer Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker to just about any mainstream post-apocalyptic novel I’ve read — but I did like this interview quite a bit.

And via Sarah Johnson, I saw this report of a book deal for a new historical fiction series by an academic, set in the eighteenth century, described as:

An utterly riveting, edge-of-your-seat, series featuring an 18th century heroine, Henrietta Lightfoot: courtesan, adventuress, spy and erstwhile murderess. It had all of us here hooked. With potential to become a really popular series, this is a female Flashman who can show the chaps a thing or two, while deliciously rollocking through one of the most interesting and dashing periods in history.

I just finished Heyer’s The Grand Sophy with my undergrads — some of them adored it, some of them hated it. I think we all felt, by the end of our discussions, that the book has flaws that make it difficult for c21 female readers to enjoy without reservations. I enjoy it tremendously, myself, but those last few pages are tough to swallow. I’m guessing that the Lightfoot series won’t necessarily be much more realistic than Heyer’s books, but it would be delightful to read something as rompish as Heyer that doesn’t just flit lightly over any hint of sexuality (or turn it into a threat of violence, ahem, Georgette).

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