From Fact to Fiction: Journalism & Imaginative Writing in America
Walt Whitman spent twenty-five years as a journalist before he published his first book of poems. Mark Twain pursued a twenty-year career as a journalist before the publication of his first novel. The list of great imaginative writers whose careers began in journalism includes not only Whitman and Twain, but also Theodore Dreiser, Ernest Hemingway, and John Dos Passos, among others.
Fishkin's book--the first full-length study to examine this tradition in American letters--focuses on the lives and careers of Whitman, Twain, Dreiser, Hemingway, and Dos Passos, in order to discover the roots of their greatest imaginative works and the factors that led each writer to turn to fiction. Fishkin determines that they all turned to fiction because they wished to engage their readers in ways not possible through conventional journalism, and yet not one of them found his artistic stride until he returned, in new and creative ways, to the subjects and strategies first explored as a journalist.
Fishkin weaves together threads of biography, literary criticism, literary theory, and social history to reveal the neglected role journalism has played in shaping American literary tradition since the 1830s. Her final chapter examines the attitudes toward journalism and fiction, and the division between the two in the works of such contemporary fiction writers as Norman Mailer, John Hersey, and E.L. Doctorow.
Fishkin's probing examination of the poetry and fiction that followed the newspaper and magazine work of Whitman, Twain, Dreiser, Hemingway, and Dos Passos both reveals how each writer transformed fact into art and how journalism has helped to give a distinctively American cast to American literature.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Other editions - View all
advertising Alger American Tragedy appeared artist Big Money biographies Brooklyn Daily Eagle Camera Eye career characters Chester Gillette Chicago Clemens Clyde concrete conventional crime culture death documents dreams early editor Ernest Hemingway experience explored Facing the Chair familiar fiction film Hemingway's Hersey Huck Huckleberry Finn Ibid images imaginative invented Janet Cooke John Dos Passos journalism journalist Kansas City Star later Leaves of Grass letters literary lives look Louis magazine Mark Twain Masses moral murder narrative narrator Newspaper Days Newsreel nonfiction novel novelist papers Passos's penny press piece poem poet published quoted reader reality reporter reprinted Republic rhetoric Robert Robert Jordan role Sacco and Vanzetti Sacco-Vanzetti San Francisco scene Schudson social society Song Spain Spanish story style subjects tell texts theme Theodore Dreiser things tion trial truth University Press Walt Whitman wanted words world of fact writer wrote York Aurora Yorker young