Fact-based fiction? Biographical fiction? What does one call fiction that is based on the life of a historical character? I like Joyce Carol Oates’ expression: “biographically fueled fiction.”
Here’s what she had to say about it in a review of a biographical novel about Emily Dickinson in the New York Review of Books:
In these exemplary works of biographically fueled fiction it’s as if the postmodernist impulse to rewrite and revise the past has been balanced by a more Romantic wish to reenter, renew, and revitalize the past: not to suggest an ironic distance from its inhabitants but to honor them by granting them life again, including always the stumbling hesitations, misfires, and despair of actual life….
Just a snippet … I’m packing for France: research with wine and cheese.
I made a mistake (which I just corrected): it's in the New York Review of Books, not the NY Times. It was a recent issue, but I can't tell you which one.
Sorry about that!
I'm worn out from a day at Versailles and looking forward to a wonderful dinner. I love France!
I hope your research, eating and drinking go well. I'm writing an article on 'reimagined fiction' (aka fact-based, biographical fiction) and wonder if you an tell me when Oates made her statement. I've been unable to find it on the NYT Book Review web site. Thanks for any help you can give and all the best,