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Steve Martin
An Object of Beauty
Grand Central Publishing

by James Croak

Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain, written ca. 1136, mixed fact and fantasy in such a delightful way that it fooled historians for centuries. Raphael Holinshed included its nonsense as truth in his 1577 Holinshed’s Chronicles, which Shakespeare used as a source for the plays Macbeth and King Lear. This weave of history and fiction, of the real and the imaginary -- sometimes now dubbed “faction" -- can be so nimble that it is nigh impossible to sort out.