Member Blogs > Books Tell You WhyLust for Life: Irving Stone's Biographical Fiction

  • Tue, 14 Jul 2015 08:00:00    Permalink

    Historical fiction, of which biographical fiction is a subset, can in many ways be considered one of the earliest literary trends. Writing about history, sometimes real and sometimes imagined, connects Homer’s Iliad (c750 BC) to Shakespeare’s history plays to Robert Coover’s The Public Burning (1977). In the case of the earliest English language novels, it was popular to market even fantastical novels as being the stuff of historical or biographical truth. Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko (1688) and Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1719), for instance, were presented to contemporary readers in the style of biography, journalism, and recovered documents. In this way, it is easy to take a blasé attitude toward biographical fiction. To do so, however, would be to tragically overlook the literary contributions of Irving Stone.

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