if you're a history buff, there's no way you could have avoided the decades worth of discourse around the loss of the great narrative, the significance of micro-historical examinations and the need to address times already passed from various different perspectives. the loss of belief in objective historical depictions both binds and liberates: we need to remain critical and interrogative as readers, but we're also allowed to consider a vast and sometimes unexpected body of works as informative.
although meticulous study still follows criteria that seems unsurpassable, works of fiction can reveal aplenty about the era of the writer (and sometimes even the topic) and, moreover, many of us consider (auto)biographies worthy in providing historical perspectives.
i briefly talked about my relationship with (auto)biographies here.
simultaneously with the ever-increasing demand to develop a critical stance towards everything we read, i have found literary experiences that encourage free imagining more appealing. inventive form goes a long way, but in terms of content it seems poems still provide the most self-evident media for guilt-free subjective interpretation and story building.
nevertheless, it is always impressive to find other kinds of sources for my historical imagination to run wild. having an aide at helping me go half-way is also rather great, and as it happens, joanna neborsky took the frugal current affair reports of félix fénéon and illustrated them to provide the flesh of her imagination around what fénéon's writing reveals of the early c20 france. the result is the illustrated three-line novels.
the pictures are as enigmatic as the original excerpts of information, and together they form a collage worthy of building a story around.
de charme, non? available from here.