Perhaps not all "nonfiction," but then if it's as true as the author can make it, how is it not history? Unless it's an essay or a memoir or something, and IMO, that's something else. I was thinking of nonfiction works such as Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff or Richard Ben Cramer's What It Takes. In all the verifiable externals, these works are "true." However, they indulge extensively in reporting other people's thoughts, which is of course fictional.
The novel had not been invented in Defoe's day, and Fielding was involved in its creation. The "romance" is not a term used for the better part of two centuries. Long fictional works are conventionally called novels. Long nonfictional works are not (Truman Capote's hubris aside.)
: 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
: 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
: 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
: I guess we should get back to the
: significance of the citations in this
: particular novel. I'll think more about
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