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Beowulf.firstpageWe’ve already talked about language and word choices when you are a historical novelist. Now I found another very interesting article on the subject: a post that Annie Whitfield wrote for English Authors of Historical Fiction, about her use of Old English in her novel To Be a Queen.

Ms. Whitfield seems to have taken a very rigorous approach – and of course there is always the matter of balancing authenticity with the necessity to write something that is not only readable, but also appealing and relatable… 

More than sixty years after Josephine Tey first raised the question in her preface to The Privateer, the debate is very much alive, and authors still strive to strike the perfect balance. whatever your stance on the matter, do have a look at Annie’s Whitfield’s post, her clever, detailed analysis of limitations, shifts in meaning and different perceptions, and her patient work to recreate a feel for how her characters might have spoken so long ago.