“Narrative” and “non-fiction”: two worlds apart, or not?

Fiction and non-fiction, they are called anglophones. Narrative and non-fiction, we indicate them, with a “separate” category for Poetry. So on the one hand novels and short stories, on the other essays and journalistic texts, basic.

Then, of course, there are a lot of distinct genres and topics, but the basic structure is always the same: to base oneself on the inventiveness of the author or on the real facts, with a variable but somehow codified stylistic register.

The “tradition” sees a dichotomy between these textual forms, which also extends to readers: let us think of “narrative” and imagine first of all a bespectacled girl sitting on a bench and immersed in reading her beautiful novel, perhaps a saga; while the typical reader of essays is for us the professor with the elbow patches of the tweed jacket and the pipe, sitting on the armchair of his studio with a somewhat curious and somewhat skeptical look.

Two worlds apart, then? The classification in libraries and libraries would make one think of this. On the one hand, the entertainment of fantasy, on the other the practicality of reality. Evasion opposite to deepening. Informality opposed to formalities. Generalizing, of course, but the general line is that.

It is still so? I believe something is changing. The classification in genres that, with a few updates, has held up for decades, seems not enough anymore. On the one hand, we hear more often about dystopians, new weird, chick lite, and about long-form journalism, self-help and many other labels, which define more or less consistent niches. It’s the long queue talk theorized by Chris Anderson!

Online bookstores do not have a limited number of sections or shelves: there is space for everything. And the public is increasingly segmented, the interests increasingly diversified.

So the distinction between fiction and non-fiction will fall? I do not believe, at least not in the short term: it is too culturally rooted. And anyway, it is a topic that flows into the academic and therefore goes beyond my skills. I, a sinister marketing man, am more interested in commercial opportunities: there are traditionally fiction narrators and other narratives, so you have to take sides, don’t you?

Well, why? Clearly our identity seems more oriented towards fiction, and we would never dream of publishing a philosophical treatise or a technical manual. Yet, collections of articles or handbooks of disclosure do not displease us at all. Indeed, we have already published, and we have also dedicated a series to it, called generically “essays”, but with contents evidently outside the dichotomous logic.

Of course, thinking of our model reader, we can better see the already described dreamy girl, with all due respect to the frowning professor. But every now and then this girl will also take a break from her fantasy sagas, perhaps to read a collection of humorous articles or a manual on how to buy a house?

In our opinion yes, then to posterity, and to the rankings, the arduous sentence. Maybe we’re wrong, eh. Let us know with a comment you think about it, if the topic is important to you and maybe you have clearer ideas about us!

One last appeal: if you have written (or would like to do so) a text next to our apocryphal non-fiction idea, as also presented in the aforementioned series … well, how about sending it to us for a read?

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