Sarah's blogging at Dear Author today, on the topic of historical accuracy in m/m historical romance:
Why bother writing historical m/m romance if you’re not going to show how far we’ve come as a society to accept two people–any two people–who love each other? Why bother writing historical m/m romance if you’re going to ignore how HUGE and BRAVE a mental and emotional leap it was for GLBT people to fall in love and to pursue that love, despite everything society told them about how wrong their actions were, but more importantly, how impossible their emotions were.You can read the whole post and comment over at Dear Author. [Edited to add: Sarah's followed this up by interviewing a number of authors of historical m/m romance.]
Absolute historical accuracy–whether we’re talking about things or thinking–is impossible, impractical, and even undesirable, because we are always writing and reading from our own historical moment. But if historical fiction is written to reflect our own feelings about a contentious issue at a potentially safer distance, [...] then surely the very fact that the way we think about homosexuality has changed so much over the past 200 years is precisely the point? Historical accuracy about precisely when someone could consider themselves to BE “a homosexual” (rather than just doing homosexual things) is therefore a vitally important political act. “Imagine how homosexuality will be viewed in another 100 years,” historically accurate novels say, “if we have come so far in the past 100 years.” More importantly, to have historical m/m romance claim the same narrative as m/f romance, a narrative that is inextricably intertwined in the political, social, and civil rights of the individual to choose their own destiny, makes writing m/m romance a political act, and writing accurate m/m historical romance vitally important.
PopCAANZ 2010, the first Popular Culture Association of Australia and New Zealand conference, is due to start shortly. More details are available here. There will be a session on romance on Thursday:
Special Romance Roundtable
Not Just Happy Endings: today’s romantic fiction and who’s reading it
Jennifer Brassel , Kitty Buckholtz, Paula Roe, Kat Mayo