How do you feel about progressive mind sets in historical fiction such as civil rights and feminism?
While it is still Tuesday, I thought I’d briefly address this topic, since it is one that I’ve previously contemplated while reading books that I won’t reference here. My purpose is not to call out any authors, but to address the question.
In historical fiction, the mindsets, speech and actions of the characters should reflect the times they live in. There have always been progressive thinkers, but those thinkers were also products of their times. When having a progressive mindset for a historical fiction character, it should reflect what was progressive for the time and formed by the circumstances that would have influenced their thinking. Even if that means that there will be elements to a character or story that will offend our more modern sensibilities.
By imposing what is currently considered progressive on a historical character or situation, if it is not in keeping with the time period being written about, an author is being revisionist and their work should be called what it is – not historical fiction but alternative history.
Now that I’ve had my say, what do you think? Let me know in the comments, or better yet, join in on this and other weekly Tuesday Talks discussion topics with the GoodReads group.