Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Hilary Mantel: Women writers must stop falsely empowering female characters in history – Telegraph.co.uk

“He said, ‘It’s like pornography to them – they think it’s shameful, but they can’t wait to get hold of it.’

“We’ve moved on since then. Enlightened historians are less prejudiced about fiction, and realise it doesn’t just mean ‘historical romance.’

“And writers of all kind are more aware of the potential deception of the smooth narrative.

“When the reader of a story says, ‘Which bits of this are true?’ he must ask that question of the historian, as well as the novelist: increasingly, the historian is ready for the challenge.”

Readers, she argued, are not “victims who need protection”, but able to read novels without spoiling history for themselves.

Hilary Mantel’s five Reith Lectures, entitled Resurrection: The Art And Craft, will air on BBC Radio 4 from Tuesday, June 13 at 9am.

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