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History and fiction

Here’s the best comment I’ve seen in a long time about the difference between history and historical fiction:

“I do the same sort of work that a historian would do, but I’m not nearly as comprehensive or exhaustive. I’m trying to do something that persuades me and provides the basis for a persuasive illustration. A historian has to nail it down, to find sufficient proof … I’m not providing proof, but evocative detail that makes you believe something.”

– Jim Shepard. Writer of historical fiction, Williamstown, quoted in Boston Sunday Globe, May 31, 2015, Eugenia Williamson, “New England Writers at Work: Jim Shepard.”

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