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The writer José Luis Corral attributes the success of the historical novel to the people’s interest in history

Corral will be giving a talk this evening at 8 p.m. in the portico of the Cathedral of Santa María. He will be introduced by Toti Martínez de Lezea

Vitoria-Gasteiz, 11th September 2008.- The writer and historian José Luis Corral attributes the current success of the historical novel to “the interest and desire of people to discover history through literature”. Corral, who will be giving a talk this evening at the Cathedral of Santa María, also claims that readers wish to approach historical events from a perspective that has not been “manipulated or distorted”.
José Luis Corral will be commencing a new season of “Encounters with the Cathedral” this evening organised by the Santa María Cathedral Foundation. The talk, entitled “The imagined Middle Ages. Gothic cathedrals in the historical novel”, will start at 8 p.m. in the portico. Free entry until full capacity reached. The author-historian from Aragon is opening a programme that the Foundation aims to dedicate to the historical novel.
Introduced by his colleague and friend Toti Martínez de Lezea, Corral said he was “fortunate to be enjoying three privileges today: being in Vitoria, being in the Cathedral of Santa María among friends, and being able to tell people stories of Gothic cathedrals”. Two years after his first visit to Vitoria’s Cathedral, he referred to the guided tour programme as a “revolutionary project in Heritage Management” because it “allows people to see the work being carried out beyond the fences” and “see what is being done with everyone’s money”.

Corral, who is also a lecturer in medieval history and director of the History Workshop at the University of Zaragoza, will explain this afternoon what led men to build Gothic cathedrals in the second half of the 12th Century; how intellectuals made the most of their education to influence the world’s understanding through buildings; and how historians and novelists explain to people what a Cathedral is through a novel.
When asked about the boom of the historical novel in recent years in Spain, with a multitude of books topping the bestsellers lists, Corral said that many historians made the mistake of “turning their back on good writing for a long time”. In his opinion, “some of them have taken care to write well, but they’ve done so in a biased and manipulative way; twisting and purposefully misleading the reader”. For this reason, he added, people want to discover history through literature but without being manipulated.