Hilary Mantel analyses how historical fiction can make the past come to life.
Hilary Mantel analyses how historical fiction can make the past come to life. She says her task is to take history out of the archive and relocate it in a body. "It's the novelist's job: to put the reader in the moment, even if the moment is 500 years ago." She takes apart the practical job of "resurrection", and the process that gets historical fiction on to the page. "The historian will always wonder why you left certain things out, while the literary critic will wonder why you left them in," she says. How then does she try and get the balance right?
The lecture is recorded in front of an audience in Exeter, near Mantel's adopted home in East Devon, followed by a question and answer session. The Reith Lectures are chaired by Sue Lawley and produced by Jim Frank.