Does the success of historical fiction benefit or threaten academic history? – Jackie Eales


Speaker: Jackie Eales (Canterbury Christ Church University/Historical Association)

Jackie Eales starts by questioning what she does when she writes history.  How does she use sources?  What controls does she place on her interpretations?  Eales also brings in another ‘rabbit’ – popular history (its got to that time of the day when metaphors are floating around!).  Popular history bridges the gap between the two forms of writing about the past and perhaps suggests both a benefit and a danger to the provision of historical knowledge.


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About Matt Phillpott

I am an historian of early modern Britain and the Digital Resources Manager at the School of Advanced Study. My main area of interest is in the authentication of knowledge in early print, including religious, historical, and agricultural texts.

1 thought on “Does the success of historical fiction benefit or threaten academic history? – Jackie Eales

  1. Eales believes that the growing popularity of historical fiction should not be seen as a threat to the academic historian. She raises the interesting issue of how historical fiction can be a means of stimulating interest in history, particularly for children.

    In 2009, the TES reported that only 3 in 10 pupils were taking history as a GCSE option with predictions of a continual decline. (Interestingly, the opposite trend was occurring in the private school system.) So whilst the education system and policies conspire to marginalise the study of history in the state system, a strong ‘hook’ is required to rescue the study of history.


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