Morgen Witzel compares history and historical fiction. Good history tells us what probably happened. Good historical fiction tells us what might have happened, and makes us believe it is real.
As a writer of historical fiction, Morgen Witzel has become adept at conveying a feeling of what the past was like through its sensual qualities, of which smell is the most powerfully visceral. As he argues here, there’s nothing like it for creating a psychological mood — or for summoning up unconscious memories.
As a writer of historical fiction, Morgen Witzel wasn’t content to merely imagine what the battle of Crécy was like, he wanted to experience its realities, too. Taking up archery – with an authentic English longbow – was the obvious consequence of this.