The Art of History

The Art of History
Unlocking the Past in Fiction and Nonfiction
Christopher Bram

“Bram delivers some digestible and often tasty observations on the art and challenges of writing in and around history.”Pasatiempo

“Delightful. . . . A must-have book for anyone looking to hone their historical writing craft.”Historical Novel Society

About the Book

A captivating new addition to the Art of series that explores historical narrative in fiction and nonfiction
One has to look no further than the audiences hungry for the narratives served up by Downton Abbey or Wolf Hall to know that the lure of the past is as seductive as ever. But incorporating historical events and figures into a shapely narrative is no simple task. 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.

Additional Reviews

“An excellent introduction with a conversational style that makes Bram’s criticism accessible to anyone with even a modest interest in historical storytelling.”PopMatters

“Bram's close reading of both successful and flawed passages from classic literature . . . [offers] valuable insights that writers can draw on for their own historical narratives.”Poets & Writers

“Exploration, appreciation and instruction combine in this slim, accessible study of literary history and historical literature.”—Shelf Awareness