Some strategies of the contemporary historical novel: from a temporary puzzle towards an intrahistorical dimension


  • Marta Cichocka



historical novel, female narrative, intrahistorical novel, postmemory


On the eve of its bicentenary in Western literature (1814-2014), the so-called historical novel accepts all types of considerations and analysis, theoretical categorizations, generic assumptions, and even purely statistical surveys that prove its strong position in the market. Its location at the crossroads of influences between modern historiography and literary movements makes the historical novel at once a multipurpose tool and, at the same time, a multifaceted field of studies. While the modern literary theory remains ambiguous on how to define a “historical novel”, this genre replete with contradictions flourishes and continues to grow in subcategories (historiographic metafi ction, the new historical novel, intra-historical novel or historical detective novel, among others). The new social and generational context provides an entrypoint into the literary scene for women as well as young writers, inheritors of an indirectly mediatized postmemory with a strong affective component. From the perspective of the theoretical framework for history, memory and oblivion developed by Ricoeur and recent psychological and sociological analyses of the production mechanisms of memory, narratives of the past can frequently be seen to adopt an intrahistorical stance, focusing on the quest for identity, and their study offers promising new methodological perspectives.


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Author Biography

Marta Cichocka

Marta Cichocka es investigadora con el título de doctora en Literatura y Filología otorgado en París, especializada en la novela histórica contemporánea y en las narraciones del nazismo. Conciliando su tarea docente con la creación
fotográfi ca y literaria, ha obtenido en su país una beca del Ministerio de Cultura y Patrimonio Nacional y el I Premio del Concurso Nacional de Poesía «Halina Poświatowska». Trabajó en Francia (Université de Paris VIII) y los Estados Unidos (West Virginia University); actualmente enseña en Polonia (Uniwersytet Pedagogiczny en Cracovia y SWPS en Varsovia).



How to Cite

Cichocka, M. (2012). Some strategies of the contemporary historical novel: from a temporary puzzle towards an intrahistorical dimension. Verba Hispanica, 20(2), 43–59.