Online course: Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

Dates: any time

Duration: 15 hours

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 out of 442 ratings (see top rating courses here)

Participating countries: any country

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Organizer: University of Virginia at Coursera

Cost:

  • FREE
  • $49 with sharable certificate

Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

A unique and exciting introduction to the genre and craft of historical fiction, for curious students, aspiring authors–anyone with a passion for the past. Read classics of the genre, encounter bestselling writers of historical fiction, and discover your own historical archive while interacting with a global community of interested readers.

Instructors

Programme

WEEK 1 1 hour to complete: Course Roadmap

In this module Professor Holsinger poses a working definition of historical fiction and sets expectations for the course content and assignments.

Professor Holsinger Provides an overview of “Plagues, Witches, and War”
How to Get the Most out of this Course

WEEK 2 2 hours to complete: What is Historical Fiction?

In this module Professor Holsinger details the history of the historical fiction novel through the 18th and 19th centuries.

Defining the Genre
The Pre-History of Historical Fiction
From Archive to Novel
Differentiating fiction and history in the 18th and 19th century
A look at Sir Walter Scott and work of the 18th century
The global reach of the historical fiction genre

WEEK 3: 1 hour to complete: Poetry and Exile in Ancient Rome: Jane Alison

In this module author and professor Jane Alison interacts with the seminar class students of Professor Holsinger’s at UVa to discuss her experience writing “The Love Artist.”

Introduction of Jane Alison
Using characters to set the set the historical context
An indepth look at the characters and story
Some challenges in historical fiction writing

WEEK 4 2 hours to complete: Two Centuries of Historical Fiction

This module reviews the history of historical fiction looking at major works and authors from the 18th and 19th century including The Leatherstocking Tales, William Wells Brown, and Charles Dickens.

Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales: Fiction on the Frontier
Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales (continued)
Brown’s “Clotel”: Slavery, Fiction, and a Founding Father
Dickens and the French Revolution: “A Tale of Two Cities”

WEEK 5: 2 hours to complete: 19th Century Historical Fiction

This module dives into the works of Anna Katharine Green and Professor Holsinger provides an overview of the forces that are effecting the craft of historical fiction.

Anna Katharine Green and the Invention of the Historical Mystery
Modernism, Metafiction, and the Mass Market, 1920-1980
The New Historical Novel in Latin America
19th Century Historical Fiction

WEEK 6: 1 hour to complete: Seminar with Katherine Howe

In this module author Katherine Howe interacts with the seminar class students of Professor Holsinger’s Historical Fiction class to discuss her book “Deliverance Dane.”

Professor Holsinger introduces Katherine Howe
Katherine Howe discusses “Deliverance Dane”
Katherine Howe dives into her characters and their historical traits
Katherine Howe session wrap up

WEEK 7: 1 hour to complete: Seminar with Geraldine Brooks

In this module author Geraldine Brooks interacts with the seminar class students of Professor Holsinger’s Historical Fiction class to discuss her book “Year of Wonders.”

Professor Holsinger introduces Geraldine Brooks
Geraldine Brooks discusses the balance of the research and the evolution of the story
Geraldine Brooks discusses the evolution of the characters and story
Geraldine Brooks session wrap up

WEEK 8: 1 hour to complete: Seminar with Mary Beth Keane

In this module author Mary Beth Keane interacts with the seminar class students of Professor Holsinger’s Historical Fiction class to discuss her book “Fever.”

Professor Holsinger introduces Mary Beth Keane
Mary Beth Keane discusses the evolution of characters
Mary Beth Keane discusses integrating historical features
Mary Beth Keane session wrap up

WEEK 9: 1 hour to complete

Seminar with Yangsze Choo

In this module author Yangsze Choo interacts with the seminar class students of Professor Holsinger’s Historical Fiction class to discuss her book “The Ghost Bride.”

Professor Holsinger introduces Yangsze Choo
Yangsze Choo discusses selecting the point of view for your characters
Yangsze Choo discusses the idea of parallel worlds and making decisions about the direction of your story
Yangsze Choo session wrap up

WEEK 10: 1 hour to complete: Dialogues in Historical Fiction

This module consists of a series of interviews with authors and Professor Holsinger. Authors include: Michael McKeon, Eva Stachniak, David Robbins, Matthew Pearl and Andrew Taylor.

Michael McKeon and Bruce Holsinger discuss what it meant to be writing historical fiction in the 18th century
Eva Stachniak and Bruce Holsinger discuss the context of historical fiction in their writing
David Robbins and Bruce Holsinger discuss revealing characters through historical events
Matthew Pearl and Bruce Holsinger discussing writing within the genre of historical fiction
Andrew Taylor and Bruce Holsinger discussing writing in relation to the history of historical fiction

WEEK 11: 2 hours to complete: Assignments and Wrap-Up

This module has the two voluntary assignments for the course: Identifying a Historical Archive and Writing Historical Fiction. The module also contains the closing remarks video of Professor Holsinger.

Wrap-up with Professor Holsinger6m

WEEK 12: 1 hour to complete: Resources

This module includes the course readings, a list of archival resources, and an overview of the authors included in the course