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April Fool's Day 2011: Best Literary Hoaxes Of All Time

First Posted: 04/01/11 09:44 AM ET   Updated: 06/01/11 06:12 AM ET

Nobody plays better tricks on people than writers, and we're celebrating April Fools' by looking back at some of the greatest literary hoaxes of all time. From a faked document by Roman Emperor Constantine to the woman who posed as a young transvestite prostitute as the author of a series of books, the tradition of less-than-truthful writing is as old as writing itself. The authors below go beyond James Frey changing some details of his life story; these people invented entirely new personas and documents that left the whole world fooled.

Did we miss your favorites? Let us know in the comments below.

"Jean-Baptiste Botul"
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In February 2010, the famous French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy was duped by a fake 20th century philosopher, Jean-Baptiste Botul. When Levy made some incendiary claims about Immanuel Kant, calling him "raving mad" and a "fake," he used Botul for support. Turns out it wasn't Kant who was the fake: Botul was created in 1999 by journalist Frederic Pages.
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This Hoax
Not too bad

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Top 5 Hoaxes
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Filed by Amy Hertz  |