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The general term for invented stories, now usually applied to novels, short stories, novellas, romances, fables, and other narrative works in prose, even though most plays and narrative poems are also fictional. The adjective fictitious tends to carry the unfavourable sense of falsehood, whereas ‘fictional’ is more neutral, and the archaic adjective fictive, revived by the poet Wallace Stevens and others, has a more positive sense closer to ‘imaginative’ or ‘inventive’. Verb: fictionalize. See also metafiction.

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism.

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