Tag Archives: fiction and history

The Truth of Fiction

You can’t get at the truth by writing history; only the novelist can do that–Gerald Brenan, British travel writer and novelist

My formal education–elementary school, high school, college and law school–spanned nearly twenty years beginning in 1955.  History, and the teaching of history–as I understood it then–was about the truth of our past.  That is no longer the case, if it ever was.  There are only “facts,” and even they are disputed, usually in the service of differing political or cultural perspectives.  And even the “history” I learned as a child wasn’t the truth because it necessarily reflected the perceptions of the people, over generations, who wrote it. Continue reading