Does literature that alludes to famous people such as Andrew Jackson still have the same impact today as it did when it was written?

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Literature that involves historical figures can have much relevance in that they expose much of what could have been and a great deal of conditionality about those individuals.  Literature that alludes to famous people might have a different type of impact because as the field of research has increased, more discourse about individuals has emerged.  For example, the figure of Andrew Jackson features much more divergence in thought today as it did fifty years ago.  Another reason why literature that has allusions to historical individuals might find relevance is that it might feature connection to modern settings.  For example, Doris Kearns Goodwin's recent work on President Lincoln, Team of Rivals, had much resonance when set in the light of the recent Presidential campaign between then Senators Clinton and Obama, with the latter receiving many allusions to Lincoln.

swimma-logan | Student

Depends on who reads it. If someone who was quite learned in civil war era history read it, or someone affected by Andrew Jackson (to keep with your example) read it, then yes. However, I myself would not relate to an Andrew Jackson reference, as I don't know a lot about him. But, overall, no. I think for an allusion to be impactful to a wide range of readers, it needs to be to someone or something that is more common knowledge. However, if you want to hint at something and have it only mean something to certain people (i.e Ҳ) then, yes. But that is another story...