RPF has existed for as long as there have been celebrities. Any media ‘based on a true story!’ is RPF. Any historical fiction narrative that co-opts a real person or real group is RPF. Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is RPF, and reflects reality just as accurately as the better and more lovingly, carefully written internet RPF of today: virtually not at all. The names remain - Julius Caesar, Mark Antony - as do certain simplified traits, the archetypal roles they play. In lieu of actual Julius Caesar and Actual Mark Antony, we get AU!Caesar and an AU!Antony in a simpler, more dramatic narrative.
— V. Arrow, “Real Person(a) Fiction,” in Fic: Why Fanfiction is Taking Over the World (via silencewhippersnapper)