A historical whopperBMJ 2007; 334 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39066.561551.B7 (Published 18 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:159
- Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor
Does it matter—in so far as anything literary matters these days—if historical fiction is inaccurate? Does anyone mind if Richard III is a tendentious, even a sycophantic and opportunist, justification of the Tudor dynasty, and that the real Richard III of history was a jolly Good Thing (in the Sellar and Yeatman sense), or at least a very much less Bad Thing?
Not long ago, I read Sebastian Faulks's novel Human Traces (reviewed in BMJ 2005;331:1029 doi: 10.1136/bmj.331.7523.1029). It brought out the inner pedant in me: there was more rejoicing in my mind over one historical mistake than over 99 true facts.
As it happens, there is …