Bingham-Davis, Connor (2020) Flight of the Empress: The collapse of antiquity and its modern-day echoes as demonstrated through a piece of historical fiction. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This MA by Research comprises of my creative piece, Flight of the Empress, accompanied by a critical exegesis, which examines the themes I chose to cover in my creative piece and my reasoning for choosing them, the creative decisions made in regards to historical figures, how they compare to other works on the same figures, as well as how the piece is an original contribution to the historical fiction genre.

The reflective essay begins with explaining the alternate methods of exploring the subject of societal decline and collapses, the concepts that were not used and why, before outlining the evolution of historical revisionism on the Roman Empire, as well as the works of fiction set around this time and how my piece differs from them. This is followed by a discussion of the role of historical facts in fiction, starting with brief outline of the historical novel form, its criticisms, followed by a defence to those criticisms through a discussion of source bias. The piece then discusses historical fact as it pertains to representation of character by comparing different interpretations of a single person from different authors, followed by a discussion of historical accuracy as it relates to language and a character’s personal history.

The exegesis then discusses the issue with retrospectively analysing the decline of the Roman Empire through a modern political lens, before discussing the themes I chose to cover in my creative piece, such as religious intolerance and infighting, with a brief examination of the use of the Roman God Bacchus who appears throughout the piece. The piece concludes with a discussion of the similarities between the popularity of apocalyptic fiction and public/media perceptions of the Roman Empire’s decline, a historian’s perspective on the subject, and how my piece addresses these thoughts to create a distinct story amongst other works of fiction.

FINAL THESIS - Bingham-Davis.pdf - Accepted Version
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