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The Forms of Historical Fiction

Sir Walter Scott and His Successors

Harry Shaw’s aim is to promote a fuller understanding of nineteenth-century historical fiction by revealing its formal possibilities and limitations. His wide-ranging book establishes a typology of the ways in which history was used in prose fiction during the nineteenth century, examining major works by Sir Walter Scott—the first modern historical novelist—and by Balzac, Hugo, Anatole France, Eliot, Thackeray, Dickens, and Tolstoy.

Author Information

ShawHarry E.:

Harry E. Shaw is Professor of English at Cornell University. He is the author of Narrating Reality: Austen, Scott, Eliot, also published by Cornell University Press, and coauthor of Reading the Nineteenth-Century Novel: Austen to Eliot.


Frank Jordan:

"Shaw’s is a distinguished book, a worthy sequel to the studies of Lukács, Fleishman, Iser, and others who have opened our eyes to the nature of historical fiction and of Scott’s craft of historical fiction in particular. The Forms of Historical Fiction is a major contribution to fiction studies."

Audience: General/trade;