|Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2003 - 11:10 pm: |
I agree with your opinion of Gates but disagree about West. Gates doesn't even strike me as being particularly articulate, which is surprising, considering the lofty perch he rests on in academia. But, if you have read significant portions of West's writings, you might think differently about him.
Not that I agree with everything West writes, as there are flaws and lapses in everyone's basis of reasoning. But the question I have about West is that considering how he is so well-grounded in the European classics, how does he reconciles his White academic/scholarly training with his Black heart/spirit that has been battered/enslaved by much of the result of his learning.
Also, West seems so intensely bright and well-read that most people do not have the intellectual wherewithal to follow what he's saying/writing and many of the few people who can keep up with him resent and reject (and maybe secretly crave) his relative popularity among non-academics.
I don't know ANYTHING about what a historical novel is or should be. However, most of us would view the term 'historical' to mean the author based her story on something that actually happened. Yet we consider a 'novel' to be fictional or imaginary. Therefore, isn't the phrase "historical novel" an oxymoron?
Really. I think we should frame the question as just "how" factually accurate should we expect ANY novel to be when a novel is primarily a literary expression of the author's imagination and fantasies? Should a novel, the product of such personal/intimate investment & inspiration, be strictly bound to the strictures of cold/objective (& often stale) historical doctrine?
I don't think so.
You should read a novel primarily for entertainment, inspiration and enlightenment, which usually comes first & foremost from realistic/3-dimensional characters development, engrossing plot/theme and interesting/unique subject matter. Yes, I think a novel should be informative and reasonably accurate. But I would never rely upon any novel to get ALL the facts right about anything.
If a novel touch on subject matter that is of particular interest to me, I won't accept it as full/whole truth. Rather, I would then consult more scholarly references for clarity/validation. Simply: If you are an unyielding stickler for factual integrity, you would profit more from consulting respected history texts and/or doctoral theses.
Yes, I think ANY novel should be accurate about the most widely known and accepted facts. But honestly, I have to question the REAL merits of any novel when, for example, most of the discussion about it concerns how accurately the author recounted the stylings of church headdress of the Mississippi Delta circa 1935.