Historical fiction

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Historical fiction tells a story that is set in the past. That setting is usually real and drawn from history, and often contains actual historical persons, but the principal characters tend to be fictional. Writers of stories in this genre, while penning fiction, attempt to capture the spirit, manners, and social conditions of the persons or time(s) presented in the story, with due attention paid to period detail and fidelity.[1] Historical fiction is found in books, magazines,[2] art, television, film, theater, and other media.



Historical fiction presents readers with a story that takes place during a notable period in history, and usually during a significant event in that period. Historical fiction often presents actual events from the point of view of fictional people living in that time period.

In some historical fiction, famous events appear from points of view not recorded in history, with fictional characters either observing or actively participating in these actual events. Historical figures are also often shown dealing with these events while depicting them in a way that has not been previously recorded. Other times, a historical event is used to complement a story's narrative, occurring in the background while characters deal with situations (personal or otherwise) wholly unrelated to that historical event. Sometimes, the names of people and places have been in some way altered.

As this is fiction, artistic license is permitted in regard to presentation and subject matter, so long as it does not deviate in significant ways from established history. If events should deviate significantly, the story may then fall under the genre of alternate history, which is known for speculating on what could have happened if a significant historical event had occurred differently. On a similar note, events occurring in historical fiction must adhere to the laws of physics. Stories that extend into the magical or fantastic are considered historical fantasy.


Historical literature includes the works of authors that epitomize a specific period in history. Historical literature has been written since at least the 11th century BC.

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