“Fact vs. Fancy” details the extent of Nathaniel Hawthorne's use of four specific newspapers from 1739—the Boston Weekly News-Letter, the Boston Gazette, the New England Weekly Journal, and the Boston Evening-Post—as source material for his sketch “Old News I.” Demonstrating the care with which Hawthorne drew from the papers, the essay also proposes a likely timeline for the composition of “Old News I,” sets it within the context of Hawthorne's early experimentation with forms and sources, and argues that it likely began as a part of Hawthorne's Provincial Tales project.

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