If you made a
: "nonfiction collage," i.e., if you
: really took excerpts from a variety of
: first-person accounts, you would not have a
: fiction. You, the compiler, are not an
: "eleventh person."
No, I'm not the eleventh person. The eleventh person is the fiction. His name is Tim.
You are doing
: what I presume all historians do, looking
: over all the evidence available (verified
: first-person accounts would be especially
: valuable, I imagine) and attempting to
: reconstruct what happened.
This makes me think of The Sense of an Ending where the guy tries to reconstruct from his memories. I suppose we can say that is a novel about a person reconstructing his history. Certainly he's not constructing a fiction, though his reconstruction of history is highly suspect.
: However, if you invent some of these
: first-person accounts (as Saunders does),
: you most certainly have fiction. It is not
: the multiple points of view that make it a
: fiction. It is the fact that the author
: created some of them, in the same way that
: any author creates fiction.
It seems to me that in my example, the author has created the eleventh point of view, though not the sentences.
: Lincoln in the Bardo might be, bear with me
: now, more akin to War and Peace. Everyone
: know that Pierre and Natasha and Andrei are
: fictional creations. Yet, Tolstoy mixes in
: scores of real people and tells of
: Napoleon's invasion of Russia in highly
: historically accurate detail. The Battle of
: Borodino is especially vividly described.
: Tolstoy not only read all historical
: accounts, he collected letters, journals,
: etc. to be as accurate as possible. But no
: one ever questions that it is a novel.
I suppose there is much reconstruction of history in novels. Perhaps novels are usually only mostly fiction.
: I think "nonfiction" exists in a
: grey space between scholarly history and
Hm. Don't think I can agree with that. I certainly expect non-fiction to be 'true' to the extent history is true. Perhaps it's better to say these books exist in a gray area that makes them hard to label. I would say the best label is probably historical fiction/novel, but, of course, it's arguable.
Most of the time, it's just convenient to use the term novel. Defoe used the word history; Fielding: comic epic in prose. There is the distinction Hawthorne clarifies in The House of the Seven Gables between novel and romance. We have the term Minippean satire. Tolstoy called Anna K his first novel; I don't really remember what he called W&P. I think anything that imagined the interior lives of characters would be a novel however solidly grounded in history it was.
I guess we should get back to the significance of the citations in this particular novel. I'll think more about them.
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