Ever since my youth it has disturbed me that of the literary works that survived their own epoch, so many dealt with historical rather than contemporary subjects.
Asking the author of historical novels to teach you about history is like expecting the composer of a melody to provide answers about radio transmission.
Like the philosopher, the author views his task as one of establishing a clear connection between life and history, and of making the past bear fruit for the present and future.
What is a historian, anyway? It is someone who uses facts to record the development of humanity.
From depicting the past, so goes the suspicion, it is a short step to glorifying the past.
There's only a step from the sublime to the ridiculous, but there's no road leading from the ridiculous to the sublime.
After closely examining my conscience, I venture to state that in my historical novels I intended the content to be just as modern and up-to-date as in the contemporary ones.
I should add that it is open to debate whether what we call the writing of history these days is truly scientific.
It is only the strong who are strengthened by suffering; the weak are made weaker.
Both the historian and the novelist view history as the struggle of a tiny minority, able and determined to make judgments, which is up against a vast and densely packed majority of the blind, who are led by their instincts and unable to think for themselves.
An author who sets about to depict events of the past that have run their course is suspected of wishing to avoid the problems of the present day, of being, in other words, a reactionary.
I have always made an effort to render every detail of my reality with the greatest accuracy; but I have never paid attention to whether my presentation of historical facts was an exact one.
An action doesn't have to be wrong just because it is not logical. It doesn't have to be right just because it has its logic.
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