The History of Fiction in the Western World

Today, we hardly think twice about the distinction between fiction and nonfiction. We know that some information in books is real and some is not, and millions of people read fiction novels to embark on adventures of the imagination.

But have you ever wondered how this came to be?

Fiction novels weren’t always a popular way to pass the time. During the Middle Ages, books were regarded as exclusive and authoritative, and the common person only came into contact with books in church, more specifically, the Bible. Understandably, no one questioned the information that was written in books, it was accepted that if it was written in print, it must be true.

Slowly, the distinction began to be made between what was true and what wasn’t through the constant re-writing of the stories in the Bible and in general history. For example, people began to fill in the gaps in writings of history with their imaginations to try to make things make a little more sense. Gradually, people began to realize that not everything that was written in a book had to be true, and began to see that they could be a form of entertainment.

The first known and accepted work of fiction in the Western world was written by Chrétien de Troyes in the 1170’s, and it told the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. These stories became incredibly popular and are still being re-told and re-written today.

Although the first accepted and popular work of fiction was written in the 1170’s, it wasn’t until the 19th century that solid separation between fiction and nonfiction become common practice. It’s hard to imagine that fiction wasn’t always a way to pass the time, and that people weren’t constantly using these portals to transport themselves into other realms, times, and mysteries.

Here at A Page in the Sun, our used bookstore in Puerto Vallarta. We have the widest selection of used books in the city, both fiction and nonfiction. Visit our Romantic Zone Cafe to cool off with a delicious frappuccino and to find your next portal.