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The Art of Literary Biography - John Batchelor

The Art of Literary Biography

By: John Batchelor (Editor)

Hardcover Published: 23rd February 1995
ISBN: 9780198182894
Number Of Pages: 310

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Is literary biography so widely read for popular, 'prurient' reasons, or for reputable intellectual reasons? Is it of interest only in so far as it illuminates a writer's work? How much can we know about a life, such as Shakespeare's, where the documentation is so scanty? These are amongst the wide range of questions addressed by the seventeen leading biographers and literary critics who have contributed essays to The Art of Literary Biography.Always a popular genre, biography has become one of the most immediate and accessible modes of writing about literature. In this book, individual literary figures such as Conrad, Huxley, Virginia Woolf, and the poets Elizabeth Bishop and Lord Rochester are examined. Also addressed is the nature and form of literary biography - the concept of biography as autobiography, the problems the genre poses, the necessity of the ignorance of a biographer, and the literary biographer at work. Richard Holmes, Jon Stallworthy, Hermione Lee, David Bradshaw, and Ann Thwaite are amongst the distinguished contributors to this fascinating and thought-provoking book.

Industry Reviews

`sprightly collection of essays' Sunday Times `deftly edited ... the collection as a whole is refreshingly free from the excesses of lit-crit gobbledegook.' Literary Review `excellent book of essays' New Statesman and Society 'a most attractive seminar on the art, or craft, of telling the story of story-tellers' existences' Valentine Cunningham, The Observer 'the best of these writers highlight what fun biography can be, and so shed light on a fascinating cultural phenomenon' Jackie Wullschlager, Financial Times 'sprightly collection of essays on the art of biography' Anthony Quinn, Sunday Times 'in this excellent book of essays 17 important biographers wrestle with their own practice' Kathryn Hughes, New Statesman & Society 'contains some excellent essays' Hilary Spurling, Daily Telegraph `...excellent book...The Art of Literary Biography offers an intriguing look at variety within the genre.' Isis `it is of eminent appeal not only to academics and students of literature, formal or not, but should be must reading for journalists, essayists, writers and serious readers of all kinds. As a handbook on the theory of writing biographies, it is essential and one of the best books on the subject we have seen to date.' Scene `this collection is notable in general for its cheerful indifference to theory ... There is a widespread awareness that most theoretical approaches do not describe or illuminate what biographers do ... lively collection.' Peter Hollindale, University of York, Review of English Studies, Vol. XLVIII, No. 189, Feb '97 `an agreeable collection of essays ... with contributions from many distinguished practitioners ... This is an excellent collection which forces us to ponder the implications of the word 'art' in its title; for if biography can be so many kinds of art, what identity is it left with itself?' English Studies

List of Illustrations
Introductionp. 1
Biography: Inventing the Truthp. 15
A Life for a Lifep. 27
Secondary Lives: Biography in Contextp. 43
Biography: Cult as Culturep. 57
Psychiatry and Literary Biographyp. 73
Women's Lives: The Unmapped Countryp. 87
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester: An Author in Search of a Characterp. 101
Conrad's Truancyp. 115
Virginia Woolf and Offencep. 129
Huxley's Slump: Planning, Eugenics, and the 'Ultimate Need' of Stabilityp. 151
Elizabeth Bishop: The Secret Life of a Poetp. 173
Jane Austen, Matthew Arnold, Shakespeare: The Problem of the Opusp. 187
Starting Again: One of the Problems of the Biographerp. 201
Pieties and Literary Biographyp. 213
The Necessary Ignorance of a Biographerp. 227
Virginia Woolf and 'The Proper Writing of Lives'p. 245
Learning about Ourselves: Biography as Autobiographyp. 267
Notes on Contributorsp. 281
Indexp. 285
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198182894
ISBN-10: 0198182899
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 310
Published: 23rd February 1995
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 2.06
Weight (kg): 0.52

Earn 342 Qantas Points
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