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Opening a window into the past with historical fiction

King, Nadia-Lisa (2019) Opening a window into the past with historical fiction. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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A fundamental challenge facing historical fiction writers is how to provide a 'real' window into the past. This thesis explores how writers use the literary devices of point of view and setting to create 'true' accounts of historical events. Historical fiction balances the tension between the creation of fiction to entertain and the need for historical accuracy. I argue that by focusing on the minutiae or specific details of setting, readers can be transported to the time and place of the story and a window into the past can be opened. The writer uses point of view to position the telling of the story offering a relationship with the intended reader. The lens, or point of view, used to tell a story, is a mechanism which can bring an historical event into sharper focus for the reader giving them a perspective, albeit a fictionalised one, into history. The literary devices of setting and point of view are explicated in this discussion through my own creative writing resulting in a series of vignettes imaginatively depicting the events leading up to and including the execution of Martha Rendell, the last and only woman hanged at Fremantle Prison in Western Australia.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Creative Media, Arts and Design
Supervisor(s): Trees, Kathryn
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