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Year Relates to Learning Outcomes LO LO: 1, 2, 3, 5 Learning Outcomes LO Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to: understand and display detailed knowledge of the social, political and biographical background to certain key works of history; understand and display knowledge of the various historiographical and theoretical underpinnings of history as a discipline; understand and interpret a variety of key historical works; write and present well-constructed, properly-referenced historical prose; reflect upon one's own understanding and engagement with the nature of historical knowledge; and conduct research appropriate to studying history at the first-year tertiary level.

What constitutes an historical work and makes someone an historian? Text s : Note: Students are expected to purchase prescribed material. What is History?

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Assessment Notes Online students must post at least words to the discussion forums. Upon completion of this unit, students will be able to: understand and display detailed knowledge of the social, political and biographical background to certain key works of history; understand and display knowledge of the various historiographical and theoretical underpinnings of history as a discipline; understand and interpret a variety of key historical works; write and present well-constructed, properly-referenced historical prose; reflect upon one's own understanding and engagement with the nature of historical knowledge; and conduct research appropriate to studying history at the first-year tertiary level.

The recordings they made will be deposited in the Library of Congress.

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Five years later, in , when Kostova was hiking in the Appalachian Mountains with her husband, she had a flashback to those storytelling moments with her father and asked herself "what if the father were spinning his Dracula tales to his entranced daughter and Dracula were listening in?

What if Dracula were still alive? Two days later, she started work on the novel.

She moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan , entered the writing program at the University of Michigan and finished the book as she was obtaining her Master of Fine Arts degree. She found a vampire-killing kit at the Mercer Museum , which included a pistol, silver bullets, a crucifix , a wooden stake, and powdered garlic.

As she was writing, she posted maps of Eastern Europe in her office and constructed a chart to help her keep track of the book's timelines. Kostova finished the novel in January and sent it to a potential literary agent in March. Publishers Weekly explained the high price as a result of a bidding war between firms' believing that they might have the next Da Vinci Code within their grasp. One vice-president and associate publisher said, "Given the success of The Da Vinci Code , everybody around town knows how popular the combination of thriller and history can be and what a phenomenon it can become.

The Historian has been described as a combination of genres, including the Gothic novel , the adventure novel , the detective novel , [15] the travelogue , [16] the postmodern historical novel, [17] the epistolary epic , [18] and the historical thriller. Kostova wanted to write a serious literary novel, with scholarly heroes, that was at the same time reminiscent of 19th-century adventures. While Stoker's vampire is the focus of his novel, Kostova's is at the edges.

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Moreover, the blend of the fictional Dracula and the historical Vlad "adds a sinister and frightening edge" to the character, according to scholar Stine Fletcher. Despite its Gothic roots, The Historian is not suffused with violence nor is it a horror novel. Kostova aimed to write a "chilling" Victorian ghost story, [20] and her realistic style is what creates this effect.

A smell rose from its pages that was not merely the delicate scent of aging paper and cracked vellum. It was a reek of decay, a terrible, sickening odor, a smell of old meat or corrupted flesh.

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I had never noticed it before and I leaned closer, sniffing, unbelieving, then shut the book. I reopened it, after a moment, and again stomach-churning fumes arose from its pages. The little volume seemed alive in my hands, yet it smelled like death. As Peter Bebergal explains in The Boston Globe , "Instead of fetishizing blood, Kostova fetishizes documents manuscripts, maps, letters and the places that house them libraries, archives and monasteries.

If I listened too closely, I thought, I would hear the screams of the boys, of the 'large family' dying together. For all his attention to my historical education, my father had neglected to tell me this: history's terrible moments were real. I understand now, decades later, that he could never have told me. Only history itself can convince you of such a truth.


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The novel's tone and structure place it within the serious literary tradition for which Kostova was aiming. For example, the alternating timelines are suggestive of A. I'm still surprised when people make this comparison, I'm very grateful my publisher has never pushed it. Reviewers praised Kostova's lush descriptions of the setting and the fascinating European cities and countries which the story traverses: Amsterdam, Slovenia, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, France, Oxford, Switzerland and Italy.

History and questions about its role in society pervade The Historian. In particular, the novel argues that knowledge of history is power, particularly as it is written in books. It is a fact that we historians are interested in what is partly a reflection of ourselves we would rather not examine except through the medium of scholarship; it is also true that as we steep ourselves in our interests, they become more and more a part of us.


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Visiting an American university I was introduced to one of the first of the great American historians of Nazi Germany. He lived in a comfortable house at the edge of the campus, where he collected not only books on his topic but also the official china of the Third Reich. His dogs, two enormous German shepherds, patrolled the front yard day and night.

Over drinks with other faculty members, he told me in no uncertain terms how he despised Hitler's crimes and wanted to expose them in the greatest possible detail to the outside world. I left the party early, walking carefully past those big dogs, unable to shake my revulsion.

The novel explores questions of good and evil and as Jessica Treadway states in The Chicago Tribune , it "is intriguing for its thorough examination of what constitutes evil and why it exists". For example, Dracula at one point asks Rossi:. History has taught us that the nature of man is evil, sublimely so. Good is not perfectible, but evil is. Why should you not use your great mind in service of what is perfectible? There is no purity like the purity of the sufferings of history.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

You will have what every historian wants: history will be reality to you. We will wash our minds clean with blood. Religion is also a dominant theme of The Historian. Dracula is Christian and, as Bebergal explains, "Much of what is frightening in the novel is the suggestion of heretical Christian practices and conspiratorial monks. The West, which is laden with the "dead" weight of this past represented by the vampires needs the help of Turkey and perhaps the entire Muslim world to recover.

As Taheri points out, one of the most appealing characters in the novel is Professor Bora, a Turkish professor who is part of an ancient Ottoman society dedicated to defeating Dracula. She met with book retailers who, impressed with her presentation, bought large numbers of the book. Kostova was billed as the next literary phenomenon, the next Alice Sebold or Susanna Clarke. The Historian was the first debut novel to land at number one on The New York Times bestseller list [5] in its first week on sale, and as of was the fastest-selling hardback debut novel in U. Reviews of the novel were "at best, mixed".

According to Paul Wagenbreth of The News-Gazette , the novel's fundamental weakness is that after the slow buildup, "there is a final shying away from a full rendering of the nature of the beast. Click here to preview the Teacher's Guide. Due to the extremely high level of interest during the Thanksgiving season, you may experience slow response and loading times.

Avoid internet traffic slow-downs by downloading the application and playing it from your hard drive. You are the Historian is a production of Plimoth Plantation. This project was supported by a congressionally directed grant administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, and by other generous donors.

This online exploration is dedicated to those daring souls who believed in this dream and made it a reality.

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