From Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative Writing in America by Shelley Fisher FishkinFrom Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative Writing in America by Shelley Fisher Fishkin

From Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative Writing in America

byShelley Fisher Fishkin

Paperback | April 30, 1999

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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 onlyWhitman 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 tofiction. 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 exploredas 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 thedivision 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 Americanliterature.

About The Author

Shelley Fisher Fishkin teaches American Studies at the University of Texas in Austin and was Director of the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism at Yale University where she also taught American Literature.
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Details & Specs

Title:From Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative Writing in AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 7.99 × 5.39 × 0.55 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019520638X

ISBN - 13:9780195206388

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"Very readable....I endorse this without reservation and with enthusiasm."--Ed Rooney, Loyola University