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True crime

Related: fiction - non fiction - crime - reality - true - documentary

Examples: Manson murders

True crime is a peculiar category of fiction because it would seem that there is also such a category as false crime. Evidently there is no such thing, but true crime came after the detective novel and hardboiled crime fiction, which were both fictional accounts of crime and murder. [Sept 2006]


True crime is a genre of non-fiction detailing crimes.

Many such books or articles feature high-profile, sensationalistic crimes as serial killers, the O. J. Simpson case, and the Pamela Smart murder, while others are devoted to more obscure events. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/True_crime [Jul 2005]

True Crime: The Origins of Modern Sensationalism - Joy Wiltenburg

An essential element in the emotional resonance of these works lay in their claim of truth. Implicitly, these stories were not trivial or recreational like fiction, but rather should be taken seriously. The majority of crime accounts advertised truth in their titles, with the "warhafftige newe Zeitung" (truthful new report) becoming a standard formula. The repeated emphasis on truth has been linked with oral traditions as well as with these developing genres whose veracious status was still in question. Just as established newspapers do not bother to describe their contents explicitly as "true," while less respected publications may advertise "true crime," the sixteenth century already saw a tendency for application of the "warhafftig" label especially to accounts whose events were surprising or hard to believe. The author of a 1582 pamphlet dealing with both disasters and crime commented explicitly on both the emotional content and the importance of the reader's perception of truth: "My dearest reader, this is unfortunately, may God have mercy, one piece of horrifying news after another ... so that my heart nearly breaks and my eyes fill with tears. I don't know how it seems to you, for there are many who will refuse to believe, since it does not affect them and appears to be false and invented." Disbelief made people ignore signs of God's punishment; but as they realized the truth, they should join in heartfelt sympathy for the woes of others. As Lennard Davis has pointed out, the "truth" purveyed in such works might have little to do with modern standards of literal truth; the deeper moral truth took precedence over mere factual details.Yet the demand for truth, the insistence that the content derived from and bore directly on real life, was an integral part of sensationalism. --http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/ahr/109.5/wiltenburg.html [Aug 2006]

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