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Frank and false

Does it matter that Doris Lessing can't get her facts right? Nicolas Walter believes that it does

By Nicolas Walter   July 1998

What is truth? Few writers ask the question, let alone stay for an answer; and when they get into the subject they get into trouble. Plato condemned artists who did not tell the truth because this was immoral, but commanded rulers to tell “noble lies” because this would raise morale. A couple of millennia later, writers are often accused of putting too much fiction into their non-fiction (or too much non-fiction into their fiction); the accusation is often true. They defend themselves by claiming that untruth is justified because it is art or literature, or makes a better story or…

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