It is difficult to achieve success in writing “historical” plays and novels, i.e. plays and novels in which the social background is not that of the writer or of the public for whom he is writing. The effort to resuscitate an alien social background seldom produces effects that do not seem either shoddy or laboured. The reason is that social facts, when presented as a setting for personal relations, must be sketched in with a touch which is at the same time light and sure; and this touch is difficult to achieve except when the artist is portraying social facts with which he is intimately acquainted at first hand.
[however…] read on
With today's proliferation of historical novels, the question arises: Does the above still hold true, and if so, to what extent?
Postscript: This may be an awkward way to pose this question. Maybe the observation is more true than ever, given today’s tendency towards “political correctness”?