Survivor's Redemption Island? Melville's South Sea Island? Reality and Fiction in American Culture

full name / name of organization: 
Cristine Soliz, Historical Fiction Area, Southwest Texas Popular Culture American Culture
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Has it always been easier for Americans to swallow fiction with a dollop of reality? Or easier for us to swallow reality with a dollop of fiction? Historical fiction occupies a noble place in American history. It can be said to have nourished the glorious lies of our fiction, and to have sprouted a plethora of genres in our literature, from travel sketches and captive narratives to fiction proper. In the new Republic in the 1800s, Americans believed that fiction corrupted the "tastes" (i.e. morals) of youth. But historical fiction offered novels and fiction a way to respectability. But is it fiction that gives respectability to reality? What do you see in the fiction you read? The SWTXPCA area of historical fiction seeks papers or panels that analyze this struggle between fiction and reality in American culture and the role of historical fiction, from the era of the new Republic to the era of reality shows. Submit 300 word abstract to or at by Nov. 28 if you want to be in the schedule (or December 13 if not) for SWTX/PCA/ACA conference Feb 8-11, Hyatt Regency, Albuq NM;