In browsing through articles retrieved via Google News here at the reference desk, I found one interesting piece on matters historical. Britain's Financial Times published an article two weeks ago called "Rewriting History." From this, we learn that Henry James thought the historical novel was "condemned to a total cheapness" because "no author can truly imagine him or herself into a past consciousness." The second clause of this is perhaps true to some degree, but does that mean one shouldn't try?
What makes the introduction so delightfully ironic is that it makes you wonder how well Colm Toibin (The Master) and David Lodge (Author, Author) portrayed James himself in their own novels. What gall! Fortunately, author Angel Gurria-Quintana doesn't agree with James's premise. Overall, I found the article to be an excellent overview of what historical fiction is, and has the potential to be.