James Piereson On Literary Fraud

Read James Piereson on the alarming spate of fabricated autobiographies as of late at Arma Virumque: Here’s a sampling

“There’s money in poverty,” a well known professor said to me many years ago after he had won a large research grant to study the living conditions of the less fortunate. We both laughed, he at the irony and I at the absurdity of a policy whereby the well off prosper under the guise of helping the poor.

At least the professor did not pretend that he was poor, which is more than can be said for several prominent novelists who have been caught fabricating their life stories in published autobiographies. What is striking about this trend among novelists is that in almost every case well-off and well-educated writers sought literary fame (and money) by passing themselves off as victims of one kind or another. The made-up characters are poor, of course, or addicts, prostitutes or victims of sexual abuse – victims of society, assuredly, or, in some cases, of the Nazis…

It’s these modish fables that appeal to publishers. Take a look.


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