Based on a True Story: a Critical Approach to Ambiguous Veracity in Literature
CitationSelsby, Noah. 2019. Based on a True Story: a Critical Approach to Ambiguous Veracity in Literature. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractThe statement that a work is “based on a true story” is one which is inherently ambiguous as the degree to which the story is factual or invented can be unknown unless directly addressed by the author. As a result, there is a tension felt when this claim is made at the beginning of a text with which a reader is unfamiliar, leading to the risk of assuming which parts of the narrative are true and which were fabricated. This thesis will explore several texts and works of narrative art which bare the markings of being “based on a true story,” but which challenge the reader to think critically when comparing their contents to verifiable sources. By differentiating these works from outright hoaxes intended to deceive, I will further refine the grey area where fiction and nonfiction coexist in an uneasy partnership that can be in some ways dangerous, but also highlight the importance of critical thinking when approaching a text whose relationship with verifiable facts is tenuous.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42004083