Anxieties of the Historical Novelist
Reconstructing the 19th Century in Fiction
22nd May @ 5.00pm
The historical novelist is perhaps the most anxious creature inhabiting the micro-pantheon of fiction-producing gods. To him belongs the inherent burden of the genre to achieve through his art what science has so far proved incompetent to invent: a time machine of words, the equivalent of the Tardis in paperback form. His dreams are haunted by the knowledge that the most exhaustive research would never convey but his own subjective perception of a past era as studied through (mainly) second-hand sources. The critical component of my PhD observes this tortu(r)ous procedure of striving towards a non-existing truth; concentrating on the reconstruction of the 19th century in fiction, I discuss the discovery of sources, their authentication and functional incorporation into the narrative. If ‘fiction is the truth inside the lie’, then historical fiction is the truth inside the lie that could, perhaps, be the truth…
Dimitris Kalpouzos, alias Dimitris Melicertes as pen names go, was born in Athens in 1988. He studied Greek Philology and Linguistics at the National & Kapodistrian University of Athens before undertaking the MA in Writing at the University of Warwick. He now lives and writes in London, working on a historical novel for the PhD in Creative Writing and Practice-based Research at Royal Holloway, University of London, under the supervision of Benjamin Markovits. His first translation was a short story by Santiago Roncagliolo, The Alongside Passenger, from Spanish into English and Greek. In 2012 he translated into Greek the ‘Fantastic Diaries of Bathsheba Clarice de Trop’, a series of children’s books by author Leila Rasheed, which are published in the UK by Usborne and in Greece by Metaihmio.