Title

In Defence of “the Lesser Cousin of History”: An Interview with Rohan Wilson

Department

English

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

ariel: A Review of International English Literature. Volume 45, Number 4, Pages 133-150.

Publication Date

2014-10

Abstract

Few branches of postcolonial literature are as contested as the historical fiction of settler societies. This interview with the Australian historical novelist Rohan Wilson, author of The Roving Party (2011) and To Name Those Lost (2014), explores the intersections between truth, accuracy, and existential authenticity in his fictional accounts of nineteenth-century Tasmania. Wilson offers a nuanced yet robust defence of fiction’s role in narrating colonial history. He explains his intentions in writing two linked yet distinctive novels of the frontier—one that focuses on the “Black War” of the 1820s and 1830s, and another that explores how racial violence is refracted by capitalism in subsequent decades.

Keywords

historical fiction, history and fiction, history wars, Australian literature, settler colonialism, frontier violence, Rohan Wilson

DOI

10.1353/ari.2014.0032

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