Why biography? This collection of essays on the problems and functions of biography, and particularly the biography of writers, thinkers and artists, investigates a subject of enduring importance for those interested in culture and society. In the last century, it has been a controversial subject, as old models of biographical writing were attacked and superseded, while critics and theorists questioned the once self-evident value of the biography of writers. Yet the genre continues to attract notable authors and is unfailingly popular with readers.
The present volume, while containing essays by practicing biographers, is intended primarily as a stimulus to critical thinking. It focuses on the diverse functions assumed by life-writing in different European countries at different periods, challenging both the notion of a genre with constant characteristics and aims and the view of modern biography as the happy culmination of centuries of progress.
`Review from previous edition Absorbing and informative'
Times Literary Supplement 30/08/02
`An impressive collection of essays, some by well-known practitioners'
The Economist 13/12/02
Richard Holmes: The Proper Study?
Kay Ferres: Gender, Biography, and the Public Sphere
Sergei Averintsev: From Biography to Hagiography: Some Stable Patterns in the Greek and Latin Tradition of Lives, including Lives of the Saints
Martin McLaughlin: Biography and Autobiography in the Italian Renaissance
Ian Donaldson: National Biography and the Arts of Memory: From Thomas Fuller to Colin Matthew
Peter France: From Eulogy to Biography: The French Academic Eloge
Roger Paulin: Adding Stones to the Edifice: Patterns of German Biography
Elinor Shaffer: Shaping Victorian Biography: From Anecdote to Bildungsroman
Ann Jefferson: Sainte-Beuve: Biography, Criticism and the Literary
Avril Pyman: Yury Tynyanov and the 'Literary Fact'
Malcolm Bowie: Freud and the Art of Biography
Laura Marcus: The Newness of the 'New Biography': Biographical Theory and Practice in the Early Twentieth Century
William St Clair: The Biographer as Archaeologist
Mark Kinkead-Weekes: Writing Lives Forwards: A Case for Strictly Chronological Biography
Miranda Seymour: Shaping the Truth
Christina Howells: Sartre's Existential Biographies: A Search for a Method
Ian Christie: A Life on Film
James Walter: 'The Solace of Doubt'? Biographical Methodology after the Short Twentieth Century
Series: British Academy Centenary Monographs
Number Of Pages: 360
Published: 1st November 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.24
Weight (kg): 0.55