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Friday, April 13, 2007

Literary Fakes

Last week the film The Hoax was released, which is about Clifford Irving's false biography of Howard Hughes. Irving is not the only writer who’s produced questionable literary efforts.

A few years ago London’s Guardian newspaper published a list of top ten literary hoaxes, which included The Hitler Diaries, which fooled historians, as well as the work of the young Thomas Chatterton, an 18th-century poet who passed off his work as that of a 15th-century monk.

Unfortunately, there’s more where that came from: a blogger published a list of the top 20 literary hoaxes, and more recently, there was a brouhaha about James Frey’s best-selling memoir, A Million Little Pieces, which turned out to have a lot of fiction for a supposed autobiography.

For more on literary hoaxes, check out:

The Hitler Diaries: Fakes That Fooled the World by Charles Hamilton.

The Plot: The Secret Story of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Will Eisner.

The Poet and the Murderer: A True Story of Literary Crime and the Art of Forgery by Simon Worrall.

A Treasury of Deception: Liars, Misleaders, Hoodwinkers and the Extraordinary Stories of History’s Greatest Hoaxes, Fakes and Frauds by Michael Farquhar.

The Museum of Hoaxes: A Collection of Pranks, Stunts, Deceptions, and Other Wonderful Stories Contrived for the Public From the Middle Ages to the New Millennium by Alex Boese.

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