Barry Unsworth: Why Bother with the Past?

10/13/2009  by Arlo Haskell  Comment on this Post

photo by Curt Richter

Barry Unsworth’s body of work is marked by scrupulous historical research and compelling narratives. In this recording from the 2009 Key West Literary Seminar, Unsworth discusses the impulses, instincts, and concerns that drive his fascination with history. The often intimate discussion suggests that Unsworth’s chief aim as a novelist is to explore the ethical complexities of humankind as presented in the customs and sensibilities of distinct historical periods.

“The past is another country, we know. It’s not recoverable. Even our own past, our own childhood is not recoverable. We know that we can’t get back to it, but we know at the same time that we’ve never lost it. We know it belongs to us because it has made us what we are.”

From KWLS 2009: Historical Fiction and the Search for Truth


This recording is available for noncommercial and educational use only. All rights belong to the author. © 2009 Barry Unsworth. Used with permission from Barry Unsworth.

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