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Some things do not bear repeating…

November 26, 2012 Leave a comment

…and yet, I’m going to any way. Mainly with the intent that I won’t have to look at crap like this any more. One of my pet peeves is books with historical anachronisms. Two situations in historical novels are the biggest offenders: dialogue and women protagonists. Malice of Fortune
One such offender, in a sea of many such, is a book called The Malice of Fortune.  From the NLS annotation:

Italy, 1502.  Damiata, former mistress of Pope Alexander’s murdered son Juan, is sent to Imola to investigate who was behind his death.  There, she meets and enlists the aid of Niccol Machiavelli and Leonardo da Vinci.  Violence, strong language, and some descriptions of sex. 2012.

Damiata is a woman.  And she’s officially, or unofficially, investigating a murder.  Presumably she meets with some level of cooperation as an investigator.  Please, I am sick of this need in modern literature for there to be more positive female rolls IN EVERY GENRE AND PERIOD OF LITERATURE.

My belief becomes seriously unsuspended when a writer just stuffs a female into an historically inappropriate roll.  I’m sure if I read the forward or afterward that Michael Ennis has some explanation about how one woman, in one corner of the world, in 1502, was actually a private investigator–they always manage to dig up one as an example.

I’m all for strong and empowered female characters, and I really enjoy post 19th century women detective novels, but it seems so patronizing when they shove these square pegs into round holes.

Anyway, we get it–women are important in all periods of history–and I mean that…for centuries, women had their place…was it right, or was it wrong?  I think that our history bears that keeping women in their place was wrong, but, that being said, let’s stop re-writing history in novels…it’s hard enough getting a straight deal out of a grade school history book without littering Barnes and Noble’s shelves with this malarkey.

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