STEVE MARTIN, NOVELIST
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.