The historical novel plays an outstanding role in the realm of postmodern literature. Although declared dead several times, the genre experiences a worldwide renaissance since the beginning of the 1950s. The revival of the literary form is accompanied by decisive structural and thematic transformations in their way of presenting and problematising history postmodern historical novels can differ significantly from the paradigmatic models of the 19th century. In Italy, Vincenzo Consolos Il sorriso dellignoto marinaio represents one of the founding texts of the new tradition of the historical romance. Even if some literary theorists consider the novel to be part of a global trend, there is still lacking a systematic analysis from a comparative perspective. In order to fill this void, this master thesis proposes a relecture of the Sorriso. With reference to Ansgar Nünnings studies on the postmodern historical novel, the text will be re-examined throughout a contextualizing analysis that focuses on formal, functional and content-related aspects. In the course of the examination the novel gets freed from the non-specific label ‘postmodern historical novel and subcategorized. As Consolos appropriation of the genre consists of innovative and traditional elements, there is provided a comprehensive description of the historical novel as micro and macro genre as theoretical framework. In order to give an updated and detailed picture of the literary form, there is cited, synthesized and critically discussed especially current literature on the subject.