A couple of things I found interesting in one of the articles in the new issue of Solander (the magazine of the Historical Novel Society).
From “The Golden Mean: Annabel Lyon talks to Lucinda Byatt about the balancing act of writing historical fiction”.
Byatt talking about the book she’s currently writing, about Aristotle’s daughter:
I’m going to begin the new novel with Aristotle’s death so that she is abruptly alone in the world, and muct figure out how she’s going to live her life as an intelligent and resourceful young woman in an extremely restrictive society. I’m finding it a real challenge, for the reasons I mentioned above when writing about women at that time. I have to stop myself from imposing a lot of anachronistic attitudes onto them, from assuming they must all have been clinically depressed because of their oppression, or that things couldn’t really have been that bad. The truth – the emotional truth, wch is what interests me most [not sure what the distinction is here] – has to lie somewhere in betweem. What did it look like to be a happy woman at that time? What did a fulfilled female life look like? That’s what I’m struggling to understand now.
Also, from the interviewer – “Hilary Mantel recently remarked [on the Culture Show apparently] that the only thing to be done with ‘the lost or the dead’ is to ‘write them into being’.”