Strange and intriguing stories, fascinating to book lovers, are found in the field of literary deception. These include mysterious cases of forgery, fraud, hoaxes, false memoirs, fake discoveries, travel to nonexistent locales and related crime and mischief.
“Fiona: Mysteries and Curiosities of Literary Fraud and Folly,” a new annual publication in book format, focuses on that field from its ancient roots to modern manifestations. Articles in the 100-plus page first edition, available via https://www.createspace.com/Customer/EStore.do?id=3359422, explore questions and controversies including:
• What vital procedure should you follow to prove a rare book or document isn’t forged or stolen?
• Parson Weems to the contrary, George Washington apparently “swore a false oath.”
• Biographers may insist, but John Paul Jones did not say, “I have not yet begun to fight.”
• Did someone in China write the Dead Sea Scrolls?
• Is the Voynich Code nothing but gibberish?
• If your rare manuscript qualifies as a “public document,” do you really own it?
• And how does the mysterious Carmelita fit into the legend of Wyatt Earp?
• Plus other features and news of interest to armchair literary detectives.
W.J. Elvin III, editor and publisher of Fiona, has an extensive background in investigative reporting and antiquarian research; he is author of several thousand news and feature stories for national publications. For many years he wrote the "Small Presses" column for The Washington Times' book section while also serving as a frequent reviewer of mainstream books. For ten years he wrote and published a newsletter reviewing books on antiques and antiquarian subjects. Among his recent work is a book challenging the attribution of a high-priced “vintage” photo frequently appearing at auction identified as Josie Earp, wife of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp.
Fiona takes its name from the elusive Scottish romantic poetess and writer Fiona MacLeod. Though sought by admirers, suitors and literary investigators, she was never actually seen in person. Upon the death of writer William Sharp, it was revealed that he, in fact, was Fiona MacLeod.