THE NOVELIST'S VIEW OF HISTORY.

Winston Salem: Palaemon Press Limited, (1981). First edition. Paperback. 4to. One of 140 numbered and signed copies, of which 40 were numbered I-XL (for private distribution) and 100 were numbered 1-100. This copy is #71 and is signed by Shelby Foote on the colophon page. First separate publication. Shelby Foote offered a unique view on writing history. As a self-proclaimed novelist, he spent much of his career writing fiction, but after his first three novels he decided to try something new. The result was Shiloh: A Novel, a 1952 historical narrative on one of the bloodiest battles in American history. The book provides a first-person narrative of the battle told from the perspective of several fictional Confederate and Union soldiers. More importantly, Shiloh represents a turning point in Foote’s career. It was the first time he combined historical fact with individual experience, a tactic that defined his self-proclaimed title of “novelist-historian." In his magnum opus, the three volume trilogy, The Civil War: A Narrative, Foote blended the skills of a novelist with those of the historian. At the end of the second volume, Foote described his unique writing method, stating that his “aim” was to “accept the historian’s standards without his paraphernalia,” while “employing the novelist’s methods without his license." Foote worked to craft an engaging plot without compromising factual accuracy, opting for a strong narrative style over a list of events and facts." He believed that “not doing the things historians do all the time” (like using footnotes or including a bibliography) would make history more appealing to the common reader." However, in creating a more readable version of the Civil War, Foote’s interpretation “bears the very strong mark of memory as opposed to history." "According to critical voices in the historical academy, the influence of Foote’s ingrained white Southern perspective partly drives his narrative,  preventing him from understanding the pivotal role that social and cultural forces played in shaping the conflict." As an aside, Foote, famous for his trilogy of the American Civil War, respnding to the observation that it took him five times as long to write about the Civil War as its participants took to fight it, Foote pointed out, with a straight face, "there were a good many more of them than there was of me." A fine copy in the original tall blue wrappers with color label. Item #14562

Price: $750.00

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