by Mr. Eugene Debs.....The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article (A Princess Seeking a voice) about Ursula K. Le Guin's new book, "Lavinia." It includes the following aside:
She has written only one other historical novel, "Malafrena," published in 1979, "which didn't make much of a splash," she said......—Except that "Malafrena" is about as historical as Anthony Hope, since its setting of Orsinia is, after all, a fictional country.
.....There should perhaps be a word for mock-historical treatments of imaginary places—Ruritanography? Tlönosophy?—but there isn't yet, and anyhow when nerds like me have to spot-check the flagship of the Murdoch empire, you know something is off-kilter in journo-land. (Granted that the corporate IQ must have dropped twenty points the day Murdoch bought it, but even so, tsk tsk.)
.....Of course, it might be fair to note that "Lavinia" is based on the Aeneid, which is only more historical than, say, "Graustark," in the sense of being a deliberate nationalist fabrication rather than an open work of fiction.
.....Still, if you ever see a reasonable vacation package advertised in the Wall Street Journal, you may want to consult an atlas first. Just in case.