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Sir Walter Scott, masquerading both as ‘The Author’, as well as his pompous alter-ego, the historian ‘Dr Jonas Dryasdust’, inserted the following dialogue into the beginning of his historical novel of the Restoration period, Peveril of the Peak (1823):
Any historian analysing a historical novel is bound to appear a little pedantic, taking a spade to the proverbial soufflé, but here goes.
‘I am what you would call a Fallen Woman, but I assure you I did not fall – I was pushed’ (Faber, p. 336).
When a late-medieval or Tudor historian is asked to compare and contrast a historical novel with a scholarly book that both take as their subject Thomas Cromwell, and the latter work has been written by the late G R Elton, the inevitable disclaimer becomes compulsory unless that historian has spent several decades inhabiting a historiographically-isolated cave during the rise and fall of t