Reading Fiction

Fiction: late 14c., “something invented,” from L. fictionem, “a fashioning or feigning,” from L. fingere “to shape, form, devise, feign,” originally “to knead, form out of clay.”

What is fiction? Something invented or something formed out of clay—or out of one’s life, one’s culture, one’s historical moment, or even out of someone else’s fiction? In this class, we’ll consider what fiction is, the difference between historical truth and fictional truth, and have fun looking at some of the many ways writers have formed their fictions out of the materials at hand. Authors might include: E.M. Forster, Jhumpa Lahiri, Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Alistair MacLeod, Tim O’Brien, and Sandra Cisneros.