Fictionalized Lives

I’ve been asking around about novels that fictionalize the lives of other (real) writers on various forums that I frequent on the internet. So far, with the help of many good suggestions, I’ve come up with the following list. I’ll try to add to it as I find more examples. This appears to be a large and growing trend.  Here they are, in chronological order:

Author; title; subject; year of publication

Ackroyd, Peter. The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (Oscar Wilde, 1983)

Coetzee, J.M. Foe (Daniel Defoe, 1986)

Ejrnæs, Anne Marie. Som svalen (Thomasine Gyllembourg, 1986)

Ackroyd, Peter. Chatterton (Thomas Chatterton and George Meredith, 1987)

Byatt, A.S. Possession: A Romance (Alfred Tennyson and Christina Rossetti, 1990)

Brunner, Ernst. Edith (Edith Södergran, 1992)

Burman, Carina. Min salig bror Jean Hendrich (Johan Henrik Kellgren, 1993)

Coetzee, J.M. The Master of Petersburg (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1994)

Tapio, Juha K. Frankensteinin muistakirja (Gertrude Stein, 1996)

Burman, Carina. Den tionde sånggudinnan (Sophia Elisabet Brenner, 1996)

Ackroyd, Peter. Milton in America (John Milton, 1996)

Fitzgerald, Penelope. The Blue Flower (Novalis, 1997)

Cunningham, Michael. The Hours (Virginia Woolf, 1998)

Ackroyd, Peter. The Mystery of Charles Dickens (Charles Dickens, 2000)

Burman, Carina. Islandet (Erik Gustaf Geijer and Amalia von Helvig, 2001)

Brunner, Ernst. Fukta din aska: C.M. Bellmans liv från början till slut (2002)

Moses, Kate. Wintering: A Novel of Sylvia Plath (Sylvia Plath, 2003)

Tóibín, Colm. The Master (Henry James, 2004)

Lodge, David. Author, Author (Henry James, 2004)

Ackroyd, Peter. The Lambs of London (Charles Lamb, 2004)

Barnes, Julian. Arthur and George (Arthur Conan Doyle, 2005)

Wheeler, Thomas. The Arcanum (Arthur Conan Doyle, 2005)

Dahl, Niels Fredrik. Henrik og Emilie (Henrik Ibsen, 2006)

Forster, Margaret. Lady’s Maid: A Novel (Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 2007)

James, Syrie. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen (Jane Austen, 2007)

Frobenius, Nikolaj. Jeg skal vise dere frykten (Edgar Allan Poe, 2008)

Oats, Joyce Carol. Wild Nights: Stories About the Last Days of Poe, Dickinson, Twain, James, and Hemingway (2008)

Dahl, Niels Fredrik. Herre (Johan Sebastian Welhaven, Henrik Wergeland, Camilla Wergeland/Collett, Bernhard Herre, 2009)

Giardina, Denise. Emily’s Ghost (Emily Brontë, 2009)

Simmons, Dan. Drood (Charles Dickins and Wilkie Collins, 2009)

Kohler, Sheila. Becoming Jane Eyre (Charlotte Brontë, 2009)

Brackenbury, Rosalind. Becoming George Sand (George Sand, 2009)

James, Syrie. The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë (Charlotte Brontë, 2009)

Charyn, Jerome. The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson: A Novel (Emily Dickinson, 2010)

Moore, Graham. The Sherlockian (Arthur Conan Doyle, 2010)

Foulds, Adam. The Quickening Maze (John Clare, 2010)

Benjamin, Melanie. Alice I Have Been (Lewis Carroll, 2010)

McLain, Paula. The Paris Wife (Ernest Hemingway, 2011)

Napolitano, Ann. A Good Hard Look (Flannery O’Conner, 2011)

I have deliberately left out the “pulpiest” genre fiction (i.e. romance and mystery. Not that it’s uninteresting. It just falls outside the parameters of how I’m conceptualizing this project). For right now, I’m trying to limit this to “serious” prose fiction (and drama) that uses a fictionalized account of the life of a real (living or dead) literary author as one of its major conceits. Please feel free to suggest more!

ETA: I forgot to mention that in preparing for my MA seminar on Dahl’s Herre on Monday, I discovered that his novel I fjor sommer (2003) may actually fit into my cabin project, based on the description on his publisher’s website. I’m excited to read it!



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