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The Art of History

Unlocking the Past in Fiction and Nonfiction

Christopher Bram

Graywolf Press

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ISBN10: 155597743X
ISBN13: 9781555977436


184 Pages



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Incorporating historical events and figures into a shapely narrative is no simple task. The acclaimed novelist Christopher Bram examines how writers as disparate as Gabriel García Márquez, David McCullough, Toni Morrison, Leo Tolstoy, and many others have employed history in their work.

Unique among the "Art Of" series, The Art of History engages with both fiction and narrative nonfiction to reveal varied strategies of incorporating and dramatizing historical detail. Bram challenges popular notions about historical narratives as he examines both successful and flawed passages to illustrate how authors from different genres treat subjects that loom large in American history, such as slavery and the Civil War. And he delves deep into the reasons why War and Peace endures as a classic of historical fiction. Bram's keen insight and close reading of a wide array of authors make The Art of History an essential volume for any lover of historical narrative.


Praise for The Art of History

“An amiable stroll through selected works of history and historical fiction . . . Though Bram acknowledges how we can benefit from history, learn from it, and deepen our perspective, it’s refreshing that he underscores the pure pleasure of reading and that he takes such delight in it.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Bram is a smart, enthusiastic and well-read guide who illuminates the pleasure of discovering history in books, as well as the various ways authors interpret and represent truth.”—Philadelphia Gay News

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Christopher Bram

Christopher Bram is the author of nine novels, including Father of Frankenstein, which was made into the filmGods and Monsters. His book on the craft of writing, The Art of History, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press. He lives in New York and teaches at New York University.