IntroductionIf you think about it, nonfiction could be almost any kind of writing. Dictionaries and encyclopedias? Nonfiction. Personal letters and journals? Nonfiction. Tax documents? Nonfiction (usually). This genre of writing encompasses both the extraordinary and the mundane in human experiences, and it dates back as far as history itself. As long as there have been means of communication, at least part of that communication has been devoted to material that was neither fictitious nor fantastic. Whether or not it predates fiction is a kind of chicken-versus-egg debate. While some writings, such as meeting notes, clearly reside in the realm of nonfiction, it is the blurry borderline between “real” and “imaginary” that often occupies much criticism of the genre. Readers, it seems, never tire of trying to define the elusive notion of what is “the truth” in a work.
- One of the most controversial examples of popular nonfiction is Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. The author claimed he used the tools of fiction to create a new kind of nonfiction, but in doing so, he drew criticism regarding the accuracy of the events he depicted.
- One of the biggest-selling subdivisions of nonfiction writing is educational publishing. Textbooks for secondary and higher education represent a huge (and sometimes controversial) portion of the nonfiction market.
- Though a visual art, photography can be considered a form of nonfiction.
- Literary criticism is a staple of nonfiction scholarly writing.
- James Frey brought notoriety to one particular brand of nonfiction: the memoir. His book A Million Little Pieces (2003) was debunked as fraudulent and highly fictitious.
All Resources by Category
- Angela's Ashes Summary and Study Guide - Frank McCourt
- Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Summary and Study Guide - Anne Frank
- Art and Illusion: A Study in the Psychology of Pictorial Representation Summary and Study Guide - E. H. Gombrich
- Aspects of the Novel Summary and Study Guide - E. M. Forster
- Autobiographies Summary and Study Guide - William Butler Yeats
- Black Boy Summary and Study Guide - Richard Wright
- Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Summary and Study Guide - Dee Brown
- Coming of Age in Mississippi Summary and Study Guide - Anne Moody
- In Cold Blood Summary and Study Guide - Truman Capote
- The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Summary and Study Guide - Gertrude Stein
- The Autobiography of Malcolm X Summary and Study Guide - Malcolm X
- The Autobiography of Mark Twain Summary and Study Guide - Mark Twain
- The Basketball Diaries Summary and Study Guide - Jim Carroll
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