November 09, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Is history really hot?

I ususally read a lots of litblogs, and sometimes I used to see the little logo of a reading challenge: history is hot

So, I just started thinking about my relationship to the historical novel. 

The reason is I’m currently reading The History of the Siege of Lisbon by Jose Saramago, which is not a typically historical novel (or a typically postmodern historical novel?), but history, and the way, the methods writing about it is an important context in the book. 

Or even the other „story” (better to say: stories), I’ve written about some week ago, and I’ve haven’t finished yet, The Bridge over the Drina by Ivo Andric, it’s that kind of books too. It’s about a bridge over the Drina (what a big surprise! J ), we can read several short stories connected to this brigde. I think, this stories mostly like ballads, with a tragic end, like the young bride, who committed suicide falling down from this bridge. The book contents stories from four centuries, started when the area was part of the Ottoman Empire till when it was art of the Austian-Hungarian Monarchy. But it’s mostly about common people, the point of view of the common people about the permanently "changing of history". 

On the other hand, I just started thinking, what kind of novels I’ve read recently. For example the story about the young pregnant unmarried girl (!) in the early 17. century. Or The True Story of Jacob Wunschwitz by Laszlo Marton, which is a paraphrase of the Kleist-story Michael Kohlhaas

Or The French Lieutant's Woman by John Fowles. 

When I was a little child, I used to read stories by Mor Jokai, “the great storyteller” in Hungary, he lived in the 19. century, and of course he wrote quite pathetic novels, about tragic heroes and the revolutions and the fights for the freedom, etc. But I loved these books, even the portrayal of the heroes. Of course, I was a child. 

An another favourite was for me Henryc Sienkiewicz, the author of Qou vadis?,  but I loved the novel: The Kinghts of the Cross. An another pathetic and sometimes terribly sentimental story, but when I was reading, I could really-really imagine the life in the 15. century. 

And when I see what kind of stories I read nowadays, there are mostly quite ironic, but still in strong relation with the history, I must say, yes, history is really hot for me. 

And what’s with you, dear fellow Sunday Saloners?       

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