This essay situates the recent return to referentiality and authenticity in contemporary historical fiction in the context of the current climate of global literary culture, which is concerned with ideas of identity, positionality, proximity, and authenticity. This return is guided by a refreshed ethics of literary production, a renewed sense of moral obligation to represent the past truthfully and earnestly, while maintaining postmodernism’s skepticism toward the production and construction of historical narratives. Some contemporary historical novels have (re)assumed the responsibility of demonstrating to the general reading public how histories are written and, by extension, propose an ethical and critical engagement with the past that aligns with the shift in political and cultural sensibilities we have witnessed over the past decade. The case study in this essay is A Room Made of Leaves (2020) by Kate Grenville, a critically acclaimed Australian historical novelist.
"Contemporary Historical Fiction and Kate Grenville's A Room Made of Leaves,"
Antipodes: Vol. 34:
2, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol34/iss2/4