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December 20, 2014

All writers are liars

by Adam Finley, posted Jan 12th 2006 5:58PM
henry david thoreauThere's been a lot of talk lately about James Frey's book A Million Little Pieces, how factual it really is, whether Oprah should be defending the author, and whatever other assorted complaints there have been. While we may be spewing vitriol at Frey, it also makes sense to step back and remember that literary history is rife with scribes who weren't above the occasional embellishment, as explained in a very insightful essay from Jim over at Encyclopedia Hanasiana. Until today I had no idea Thoreau actually paid interns to live on Walden Pond and write about, nor did I realize Emily Dickenson was really a man. I would also add something Jim left out, which is that the original title of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird was actually Tequila, Mockingbird and was not about racism in the Depression era, but instead described a really strange meal she had while traveling through southern Arkansas.

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