Literary forgery

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Literary forgery (also literary mystification, literary fraud or literary hoax) refers to writing, such as a manuscript or a literary work either deliberately misattributed to a historical or invented author, or a purported memoir presented as genuine.


The common, or popularly known, instance of literary forgery may involve for example the work of a famous author whose writings have an established intrinsic, as well as monetary, value. In the attempt to gain the rewards of such a reputation, the forger often engages in two distinct activities. The forger must produce a writing which resembles the style of the known reputable author to whom the fake is to be attributed. However, that is not necessarily sufficient. The forger also may or may not fake the physical alleged original manuscript. This is rare, as it requires a great deal of technical effort: this is often done by imitating the ink and paper, and other materials if possible. The effect is in the physical result; the forger can thereby say not just that the style of writing is the same, but also that ink and paper is of the kind or type used by the famous author. Other common types of literary forgery may be based on potential historical cachet and novelty of a previously undiscovered author.

Literary forgery has long history: Onomacritus (c. 530 - 480 BCE) is among the most ancient known literary forgers.One of the longest lasting literary forgeries is by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite a 5-6th century...
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