Linky post! Because I’m a bit headachey again.
- Women studying anatomy, circa 1905, via Twitter, as usual; I’m definitely going to be using this as a reference for Killingly.
- This dog has been appearing at Greek demonstrations for the last two years. He has to belong to a protester — he is wearing a collar. But it’s awfully easy to think of him as some little god of protest — Eris as a mutt?
- And speaking of little gods, do read Sarah Johnson’s long interview with Guy Gavriel Kay, in which they discuss, among other things, writing historical fiction that treats the culture’s religion as real rather than symbolic (something I’m also interested in, of course).
- See also David Mitchell’s essay in the Telegraph about historical fiction. Tonally, this feels a little weird to me; it’s very cheery and flip. Mitchell has just published a historical novel, though apparently not on purpose, as he explains: “I didn’t set out to write a historical novel just for the heck of it – you’d have to be mad.” (You would? Also, who ever writes a novel “just for the heck of it?”) The breezy tour through the history of historical fiction also rang a bit false for me at times, though that’s partly because I love nothing better than nitpicking at other people’s generalizations about eighteenth-century literature. I also find his suggestion about “Bygonese” both accurate and, again, a little tonally weird; as with the whole piece, it’s written in a manner that suggests it’s more original than it is, especially since Mitchell then suggests a set of features common to historical-fiction dialogue (“Commonly, shall is used more often than will …”) and lists errors to avoid (using ahistorical vocabulary: “such as brinkmanship: duh, it’s a Cold War term.” As Omar would say: indeed). I’d love to see Mitchell write a piece about historical fiction intended for historical fiction writers and readers rather than a general newspaper audience.