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why you should definitely invest in reading historical fiction

Reasons Why You Need to Read More Historical Fiction

Historical fiction refers to fictional stories (of real or imaginary people) set in true historical contexts. This blurs the lines between reality and imagination, because it is both factual and fictional. This is why you should definitely invest in reading historical fiction.

Gives you an alternative perspective to look at the past

It is a common adage that victors write history. Indeed, it is always victors who have had the last say in the documentation of facts. But through stories, which demand imagination and innovation, it is possible to rewrite histories from the perspective of those marginalized. This allows unheard voices to get recognition, and repressed stories to thrive. It offers alternative perspectives to past realities.

Makes you more aware of world and as well as local legacies

Because historical fictions don’t exist in vacuums, and thrive instead in definite places and times, they have a context. It is this context which makes historical fiction unique and essential. They provide information about local as well as global histories, allowing you to better understand why certain people, communities and countries are the way they are.

Reasons Why You Need to Read More Historical Fiction
Reasons Why You Need to Read More Historical Fiction

Gives you a sense of the life and times before yours

Historical fiction is one of the most informative fiction genres. Because good historical fiction requires thorough and meticulous research, it has a teleportative quality. It can plunge you back in time and make you travel to places you’ve never imagined. This, in turn, allows you to get a sense of the life and times so vastly different from yours.

Has a unique, old-world aesthetic and charm that takes the breath away

The aesthetic of historical fiction is undeniably beautiful and unique to the type of historical fiction you read. Colonial historical fiction in India, for instance, has a natural yet very distinctively grandiose charm. But world war two fiction usually has more of a dark aesthetic. These are aesthetic experiences one cant get from contemporary fiction.

Includes epic stories told on a mammoth scale

More often than not, historical fictions are told on epic scales. Events are usually on a grand scale, involving multitudes of characters. Sometimes there is more than one timeline too. Historical fiction is thus great to read for the sheer immensity of the imaginative capacity. Even though a lot of is it factual, there is an immense scope for imagination here too.

why you should definitely invest in reading historical fiction
why you should definitely invest in reading historical fiction

Strikes the balance between being informative and engaging

Like I said before, historical fiction balances, or at least attempts to balance, fiction and fact. So while the context and rootedness is factual and research based, the events, plots and sometimes characters are fictional. So historical fiction essentially gives you the best of both worlds – it is informative as well as super engaging.

Challenges your perceptions about culture

One great social influence that historical fiction has is that it challenges cultural stereotypes. By providing alternative perspectives to a known reality, it offers alternative ways of looking at people. Postcolonial historical fiction, for instance, has long worked to challenge the notion of imperial superiority. Slave fiction, likewise, challenges the idea of racism.

Makes you a more broad minded individual

In the process of informing people and challenging stereotypes, historical fiction ends up broadening your horizons. Knowing the past of a country, a culture or a community makes you look at them in a more informed and self-conscious way. This checks tendencies to dismiss people off because of their membership to a certain group.

Reasons Why You Need to Read More Historical Fiction
Reasons Why You Need to Read More Historical Fiction

Allows a more modern interpretation of past events

Finally, because historical fiction is written by contemporary authors, it allows a contemporary interpretation of historical events. By looking at an event not by participating in it but from afar allows one to get an objective bird’s eye view of it. This in turn gives you a more thorough understanding of history and allows you to make it relevant and applicable to current life.

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