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Online Course

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

University of Virginia via Coursera

Overview

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.

Syllabus

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

What is Historical Fiction?
-In this module Professor Holsinger details the history of the historical fiction novel through the 18th and 19th centuries.

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.”

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.

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.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.

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.

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

Taught by

Bruce Holsinger

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Reviews

4.5 rating, based on 11 reviews

Start your review of Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Prof and UVA go to great lengths to present an exciting, interesting, comprehensive course. Provides an excellent into to the genre, followed by outstanding interviews with first-rate authors. The genre was relatively new to me (previously not a historical fiction reader), so I discovered many wonderful authors. I'm currently reading several and returning to the interviews when I finish. Prof and authors contribute to the forum, too. Outstanding course!
  • Deanna completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    This was one of the best courses I've taken through Coursera!

    I am a voracious reader, and I love both historical fact and historical fiction. This class got me thinking about historical fiction in a new way. It also introduced me to lots of new authors (as if my to-read list needed to be longer! ha ha)
  • Aana

    Aana completed this course, spending 2 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

  • Georgina completed this course, spending 4 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

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  • Wendi Solinger

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  • Sriya Veera completed this course.

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