Saturday, 15 March 2014

Reading and history

Have you ever thought of how much history you learn simply by reading classic literature?

Well, until recently I hadn't really considered it. But just think of it.

I love history and I'll admit I found my history teaching lacking at points and oddly repetitive at other points, but let's not dwell on that.
My point is that all my knowledge of several time periods and historic events I have solely from the fiction I  read that takes place in that time.

Let me take an example.. French history was something I didn't learn a thing about in school, so I depended completely on books set in France, to help me learn anything. And here is what they taught me:

The Hunchback of Notre Dame taught me of medieval Paris, and Louis the XI.

The three Musketeers taught me of Louis the 13. and the 15. century France.

A Tale of two Cities and The Scarlet Pimpernel taught me about the French Revolution.

Desiree taught me about the Napoleonic times.

Les Miserables taught me of the restoration, and that there has been more than one revolution in France (it would have taught me even more, if I had read the unabridged version, but sadly I couldn't get my hands on one)

That was just one example, and I'm sure I could go on for long if I listed all the books I've read through the years.
So thanks to all those authors who unwittingly taught me all what school didn't.

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