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A history of fiction

Parent categories: fiction - history

By era: 1600s fiction - 1700s fiction - 1800s fiction - 1900s fiction

By medium: film history

Related: genre - trope -


Four steps in the history of fiction:

  • People tell tall stories by the campfire
  • People come up with idea to act out these stories, which becomes theatre
  • The novel is invented for the solitary enjoyment of fiction
  • Film replaces the novel as primary source of fiction


    Colin Wilson (The Misfits) explaines how telling stories by the campfire evolved into acting out these stories, which became plays.

    Next step was the novel.

    On the nature of fiction

    The beginning of the 20th century saw the arrival of film as a new medium. By and large, what people wanted to watch on the screen did not differ from what they expected to see on the stage or read in short stories and novels: the good and the bad things in life (clearly separated from each other); virtue and vice; human prowess and human weakness; sin and redemption; and, probably more than anything else, poetic justice, or iustitia commutativa, as it is called according to Aristotle, with everyone getting what they deserve. In this respect, the cinema has always served as a means of escape from real life, though a temporary one. This escapist function of both literature and film did not change substantially in the course of the 20th century: One still feels uncomfortable if at the end of a film the "bad guy" gets away with all his evil doings, if order is not restored, if justice does not succeed in the end. Subconsciously, an average human feels that if the wicked character is not punished, the film comes too close to reality and makes the person remember, rather than forget his inadequate life. The crime film has thus been a popular genre in the 20th century. Crime films have been generally adapted from other forms of literature rather than written directly for the screen. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_film [Jul 2005]

    see also: adaptation - crime fiction - thriller - crime fiction - violent films - film noir

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