Each of the following critical works contains at least one or two substantial paragraphs analyzing historical fiction as a genre—its unique attractions, it special difficulties, and its appropriate criteria of excellence. Works marked with an asterisk undertake the most thorough analysis of the genre.Unless otherwise indicated, the author identification comes from The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, from the marked files of The Athenaeum in the offices of the New Statesman in London, or from Bevington's The Saturday Review. The works arc listed in order of their first publication.

For additional material on this site about individual authors of novels and reviews and periodicals that published reviews, follow the links.



Heraud, John Abraham. “Historical Romance: Sir Walter Scott and His Imitators.” Fraser's Magazine. (February, March, 1832): 6-19, 207-17.

Although the Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, vol. 2, puts "prob.” next to the author's name, these articles contain arguments and wording that closely resemble passages in an 1827 essay definitely written by Heraud and are almost certainly by the same hand; compare "Historical Romance," Quarterly Review 35 (March 1827): 518-66.

Lockhart, John Gibson. “Zohrab, the Hostage.” Quarterly Review 38 (December 1832): 391-40, esp. 393-96.

Merivale, Herman. “On the Picturesque Style of the Historical Romance.” Blackwood's Magazine 33 (April 1833) : 621-27.

*“Recollections of a Chaperon.” Edinburgh Review 57 (July 1833): 403-11, esp. 405-06.

Eagles, John. *“Irish Tales.” Blackwood's Magazine 39 (May 1836): 689-98, esp. 689-91.

Moir, George, prob. “Recent English Romances.” Edinburgh Review 65 (April 1837): 180-204, esp. 180-84, 195.

Bulwer-Lytton, Edward. “On Art in Fiction.” Monthly Chronicle (1838).

“Naval Novelists.” Fraser's Magazine, 17 (Kay 1838): 571-80, esp. 572.

Venables, G. S. “Miss Martineau: Deerbrock.” Blackwood's Magazine 47 (February 1840): 177-88, esp. 177-78.

Horne, R. H. *A New Spirit of the Age. 2 vols. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1844. Is 217-31. 2: 79, 143-44, 210-11, 215-22.

McNeill, John. *“The Heretic.” Blackwood's Magazine 55 (February 1844): 13 -19, esp. 135-37.

"Ainsworth's St. James's; or. The Court of Queen Anne.” Fraser's Magazine 30 (December 1844): 740-42.

Romantic Adventures of Monsieur Violet.” Eclectic Review ser. 4, no. 17 (June 1845): 712-21, esp. 712-14.

Alison, Archibald. *“The Historical Romance.” Blackwood's Magazine 56 (September 1845): 341-56.

Review of The Levite; or, Scenes Two Hundred Years Ago, by Elizabeth Murphy. Athenaeum, 27 September 1845, pp. 934-35.

Lewes, George Henry. *“Historical Romance: The Foster Brother, and Whitehall.” Westminster Review 45 (March 1846): 34-55, esp. 34-38, 45-48.

Hayward, Abrahan. “Miss Martineau’s Rock and Billow — Historical Fictions.” Edinburgh Review 85 (April 1847): 461-76, esp. 461-64.

*“Walter Scott — Has History Gained by His Writings?" Fraser's Magazine 36 {September 1847); 345-51.

Lewes, George Henry. *“Historical Romance-—Alexandre Dumas.” British Quarterly Review 7 (February 1848): 181-204, esp. 188-93 (authorship identified H in Hirshberg, p. 218).

Review of Harold; The Last of the Saxon Kings, by Edward Bulwer-Lyttcn. Athenaeum, 17 June 1848, pp. 597-98.

Conington, John. *“Recent Classical Romances.” Edinburgh Review 92 (October 1850): 468-91.

"Ancient Romances.” Leader, 21 June 1851, p. 588.

Smith, X. Gregory. “Recent Works of Fiction.” North British Review 15 (August 1851): 419-41, esp. 420-22.

Madden, Daniel Owen. Review of The Treasure-Seeker's Daughter , by Hannah Lawrence. Athenaeum, 9 October 1852, p. 1092.

Tayler, J. J. “History of Latin Christianity.” Prospective Review 10, no. 39 (1854): 305-25, esp. 309-13.

Hutton, R. H. *“The Author of Heartsease and Modern Schools of Fiction.” Prospective Review 10, no. 40 (1854): 460-82, esp. 470-76.

Senior, Nassau. “Thackeray’s Works.” Edinburgh Review 99 (January 1854): 196-243, esp. 231-32.

Froude, Janes Anthony. *“History: Its Use and Meaning.” Westminster Review 6 n.s. (October 1854): 420-48, esp. 425-32.

Stephen, James Fitzjames. “The Relation of Novels to Life.” In Cambridge Essays Written by Members of the University. 1 (1855): 148-92, esp. 170-71.

Senior, Nassau. “Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton's Novels.” North British Review 46 (August 1855): 339-92, esp. 149, 166, 168-70.

Eliot, George. “Silly Novels by Lady Novelists.” Westminster Review 10 n.s. (October 1856): 44-61, esp. 48-60.

"Antiquarian Novels.” Saturday Review, 20 February 1858, pp. 193-94.

*"Historical Romance.” Saturday Review, 11 September 1858, pp. 251-52.

Finlason, W. F. “History in Fiction.” Dublin Review 45 (December 1858): 328-64, esp. 328-30, 342.

Ainsworth, William Francis (Monkshood, pseud.). “Of Novels: Historical and Didactic.” No. 1. “The Historical Novel.” Bentley's Miscellany 46 (1859): 42-51. >/p>

W. F. Ainsworth is identified as "Monkshood" by Ellis in William Harrison Ainsworth and His Friends, 2: 224.

Smith, Goldwin. “The Virginians.” Edinburgh Review 110 (October 1859): 438-53, esp. 438-43, 449-53.

Review of Charmione, by F. W. Leatham (2nd ed.). Saturday Review, 28 January 1860, pp. 116-17.

"Historical Romance.” Leader, 30 June 1860, p. 615.

Review of Cinq Mars (14th ed.), by Alfred de Vigny. Saturday Review, 3 October 1863, pp. 462-63.

Stephen, Jaraes Fitnjams. “Mr. Thackeray.” Fraser’s Magazine 60 (April 1864): 401-18, esp. 415-16.

Hannay, James. A Course of English Literature. London: Tinsley Bros., 1866, pp. 100-01.

"History and Fiction.” Once a Week, 1 February 1868, pp. 106-08.


Last modified 15 December 2017