About Those Fakes…

Chicago Tribune cultural critic Julia Keller may be responsible for the hokiest lede to ever appear in a Pulitzer-winning story, but she’s pretty good when it comes to literary affairs, and she has a thorough piece on the latest round of fake memoirs. Among those quoted is D.C.-based novelist and critic Thomas Mallon:

The current crop of faked memoirs and fib-filled autobiographies may emanate from the complications of the Internet era, Mallon says. “As George Orwell noted, people write as an assertion of the ego. And when people fabricate memoirs, it’s an homage to the fact that writers still have stature in the culture.” Ironically, though, “the Web has made authorship a much less exclusive club. You can self-publish now so easily.”

And we may only be at the threshold of the Internet’s effect on literary originality, Mallon warns. “We’re not that far into it, and we just don’t know. It’s still very unsettled.”

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