By Barbara Caine

Biography is the oldest manner of writing approximately old occasions, and the most renowned. taking a look at the advanced courting among the self-discipline of historical past and the writing of lives, Biography and History:
• is the 1st paintings to discover the numerous position of biography inside of historic writing at present time
• combines a dialogue of the heritage of biography with a longer research of latest techniques to biography
• hyperlinks advancements inside historical past to the broader curiosity in auto/biography and life-writing, and to literary methods
• means that there are a few detailed gains within the ways that historians deal with biography.

Original and insightful, this can be a vital creation to a transforming into, and more and more very important, box of analysis and research.

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Extra resources for Biography and History

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He offered an example of a new approach to biography in the brevity of his treatment, his crisp literary style and his often ironic tone, but also in his open criticism and his interest in hidden and sometimes unconscious motives. 40 Biography and History For Strachey, the very form of Victorian biography itself served as a potent illustration of the worst Victorian values, and the impulse to critique and to show the dishonesty, hypocrisy and hidden flaws which underlay those values helped lead him to offer a new form of biography.

The outcry occasioned by this book pointed to a new concern about the limits on what could be discussed in biography and the need for discretion, especially when it came to questions about personal and domestic life. Throughout the nineteenth century, one can see the tensions and difficulties that many biographers faced in their attempts to combine Johnson’s insistence that a biography was different from a panegyric with the new sense of decorum, propriety and restraint. Many biographers revealed anxiety about where exactly lines should be drawn.

One can see this not only in the aspects of an individual’s life which are discussed but also, more broadly, in the shifts evident in the very meaning of the word ‘private’ in relation to biography. The link between biography and the private realm was emphasised strongly by the poet John Dryden in one of the earliest seventeenthcentury discussions of the term ‘biography’ and what it involved. While history dealt with many people and many public actions, Dryden argued, biography involved a descent into the ‘minute actions and trivial circumstances’ of an individual life.

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