fiction

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a polite fiction

A general untruth or falsehood that is accepted in place of the truth to maintain politeness, civility, or stability among a given social group. Our parents' marriage was just a polite fiction in our household up until my youngest sister was off to college. By the time the military junta overthrew the dictatorship, the promise of democratic rule was little more than a polite fiction among the citizens of the country.
See also: fiction

Fact is stranger than fiction,

 and Truth is stranger than fiction.
Prov. Things that really happen are harder to believe or more amazing than stories that people invent. Did you see the story in the newspaper about the criminal who attacks people with a toenail clipper? Fact is stranger than fiction! Jill: I can't believe someone's paying 900 dollars for Tom's broken-down old car—it doesn't even run. Jane: Truth is stranger than fiction.
See also: fact, fiction, stranger

truth is stranger than fiction

Real life can be more remarkable than invented tales, as in In our two-month trip around the world we ran into long-lost relatives on three separate occasions, proving that truth is stranger than fiction . This expression may have been invented by Byron, who used it in Don Juan (1833).
See also: fiction, stranger, truth

ˌtruth is stranger than ˈfiction

(saying) used to say that things that actually happen are often more surprising than stories that are invented
See also: fiction, stranger, truth
References in periodicals archive ?
Why There Are No One-to-One Correspondences among Fictionality, Narrative, and Techniques: A Response to Mari Hatavara and Jarmila Mildorf.
Leaving behind the everyday world in which he occupies a prominent place, now called into question by what Edith now knows about him, Enley hastens to a place that is transparently "other," a paradoxical projection of Enley's desires and his moral needs that exemplifies what Iser identifies as one of the most important characteristics of fictionality, the way in which it "becomes the epitome of inner-worldly totality, since it provides the paradoxical (and perhaps for this very reason, desirable) opportunity for human beings simultaneously to be in the midst of life and to overstep if" (83).
After acknowledging the constitutive power of exclusion, Part Three addresses fictionality, history, and truth: "Forgetting or remembering something that never happened.
28; 62) thus attaching weight to the fictionality and artistry of the performance at least partially prepared, and enacted, b y Camillo.
Literary fictionality is lodged exclusively in neither but in the interaction between them--suggestive of the idea that when the reader activates this process he or she experiences a virtual, implied world created by their coming together.
While Genette explained the effects of metalepsis as either fantastic or humorous, the "theory" of metalepsis is that its presence always foregrounds the fictionality of a work, and on this basis Ryan (Avatars of Story) has sought to refine Genette's original category by establishing the now accepted distinction between rhetorical and ontological metalepses, where one transgression of levels is metaphorical or virtual ("Dear reader, let me take you into the character's bedroom") and the other is "real" ("And so I stepped into the world and ate a hamburger with my character").
critical interest in the fictionality of postmodern fiction in response
The fifth chapter ('Goethe, Werther, Reading and Writing') concerns responses to the novel's fictionality, its Dichtung or Wahrheit: readings of Werther as a roman a clef, correspondences between hero and author, literary sources, and the role of the editor--who, according to the most recent conclusion, is none other than Wilhelm.
Cohn's essential motive for erecting territorial signposts of fictionality, and for renewing the fiction/history boundary, might well be her assertion and preservation of interpretive freedom.
Beecher, Massimo Ciavolella, and Roberto Fedi, "Introduction"; Dennis Looney, "Ariosto and the Classics in Ferrara"; Antonio Franceschetti, "The Orlando innamorato and the Genesis of the Furioso"; Alberto Casadei, "The History of the Furioso"; Giorgio Masi, "'The Nightingale in a Cage': Ariosto and the Este Court"; Monica Farnetti, "Ariosto: Landscape Artist"; Daniel Javitch, "The Advertising of Fictionality in Orlando furioso"; Elissa B.
Moers concludes that the three criteria presented by Lorprieno stand out as providing the most viable approach: fictionality, intertextuality, and reception.
In other words, one thing Harrison's work makes inescapable is the fact of how art materially instantiates the reality or fictionality of the discourses it provokes.
Unwin's argument, however, leads him into claiming that Verne was also interested in the question of the fictionality of science.
It seems that the author is not in favour of any so-called autonomy of a fictional text, because, he argues undoubtedly most convincingly, that fictionality is a complex interaction among the text, its author and the render.
The argument that certain social groups absorb representations unthinkingly and are impelled to seek in life the fantasies whose fictionality they fail to recognize, is currently mapped on to prejudices about video, a modern threat from popular culture to the social order very like those which Flint discusses.