Admitting that genius which has familiarized itself with all the relics of an ancient period can sometimes, by the force of its sympathetic divination, restore the missing notes in the "music of humanity," and reconstruct the fragments into a whole which will really bring the remote past nearer to us, and interpret it to our duller apprehension,–this form of imaginative power must always be among the very rarest, because it demands as much accurate and minute knowledge as creative vigour
This is fiction set in a distinctive historical period other than the one the author lives in, which brushes up against actual historical figures if it doesn't star them outright. Depending on the bent of said author, they may let their biases
bleed through via Historical Hero Upgrade
or Historical Villain Upgrade
. A Historical Beauty Update
will make the story more fun without making it much less accurate. Important historical events are at least mentioned in passing if they don't have a strong influence on the plot. Deliberate Values Dissonance
is frequent for historical accuracy. Often, the period predates a Trope Breaker
(though sometimes the audience doesn't realize that).
This may overlap with Alternate History
if the history is shown to play out differently and Historical Fantasy
if fantastic elements are present. Compare to Period Piece
, which uses the past as a backdrop for the drama, while Historical Fiction is fiction in which historical events significantly affect the plot.
Usually it includes one or more Historical Domain Characters
, and may commonly employ Artistic License
when the author feels the story is more important than accuracy.
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Anime & Manga
- Mademoiselle Butterfly, set in the 1930s with geishas.
- Peacemaker Kurogane, covering the pre-Meiji period from The Shinsengumi point of view.
- Rose of Versailles, set in pre-revolutionary France.
- Rurouni Kenshin, set in the early Meiji period.
- Vinland Saga, chronicling the rise to power of Cnut the Great in the Viking Age, amongst other things.
- Historie, set in the time of Alexander the Great.
- Sakura Gari is set in the Taishou Era.
- Shut Hell, set in the early 13th Century, during Genghis Khan's time.
- Hakuouki is another Shinsengumi tale, covering through the end of the Boshin War.
- Honey Honey No Suteki Na Bouken is set in Vienna, 1907.
- Le Chevalier d'Eon, set in 18th Century Europe.
- Kaze to Ki no Uta set in 1880 in France.
- Claudine is set in France as well, but in the first decade of the XX century.
- Haikara San Ga Tooru is set in the Imperial Japan of The Roaring Twenties. More exactly, in 1923.
- The same goes to Kasei Yakyoku
- Anatolia Story is set in the Hitite Empire.
- The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, by Don Rosa, sets its main character in various decades from the 1870s to the 1940s, featuring such characters as Murdo Mac Kenzie, Wyatt Earp, and Theodore Roosevelt.
- Marvel 1602
- The Uplifted series is this. Especially the first trilogy, which takes place during World War II.
- Arn: The Knight Templar, dealing with the Crusades and the establishment of Sweden as a kingdom.
- Ever After, during the French Renaissance. Complete with Leonardo da Vinci (and the Mona Lisa).
- Ben Hur, set during Jesus' lifetime.
- The Robe, set during the reigns of Tiberius and Caligula.
- Quo Vadis, set during Nero's reign
- Spartacus, a retelling of Spartacus' revolt.
- Gladiator, also set during Commodus' reign.
- Forrest Gump inserts the title character at various points in American history from Elvis Presley to Hurricane Camille.
- Gone With The Wind, set during the Civil War and featuring an iconic burning of Atlanta.
- Master and Commander
- Pearl Harbor. Unlike other Pearl Harbor movies, you have to sit through Developing Doomed Characters first.
- Gangs of New York, set just before the Civil War draft riots, which break out during the climax.
- Titanic is set during the 1912 sinking of the famous ship.
- U-571, set during World War II.
- Aguirre, the Wrath of God, set in South America during the Age of Exploration.
Live Action TV
- I, Claudius, a biography of the Julian emperors up to Claudius based on a duology by Robert Graves.
- The Caesars, an earlier treatment of Julian emperors.
- North and South (Trilogy), a three-part miniseries based upon the novels by John Jakes, set during and after The American Civil War.
- The Roman Mysteries The Roman Mysteries is a historical Detective Drama series set in 1st Century AD of The Roman Empire.
- Rome is the rise of the Julian dynasty from the perspective of Those Two Guys.
- Doctor Who occasionally slips into this, and uses Time Travel to land in the periods of historical figures such as Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Agatha Christie and Vincent Van Gogh. Of course, its not a straight Historical Fiction, considering the aliens, space-ships, and 'mythological' creatures, but then when was the show's genre ever easily defined?
- Dong Yi is set in late 17th century Korea during the reign of King Sukjong.
- Blackadder, with each of its four seasons taking place at a different time in British history.
- My Place is probably the most ambitious example for Australian history. Starts in 2008 and travels back to pre-1788. Each episode is set in the same location, but a different decade, often with many of the same characters.
- Copper is a police drama set in 1864 New York
- Parades End World War One