Biography: A Very Short Introduction

Biography: A Very Short Introduction

by Hermione Lee
     
 

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Biography is one of the most popular, best-selling, and widely-read of literary genres. But why do certain people and historical events arouse so much interest? How can biographies be compared with history and works of fiction? Does a biography need to be true? Is it acceptable to omit or conceal things? Does the biographer need to personally know the subject? Must…  See more details below

Overview

Biography is one of the most popular, best-selling, and widely-read of literary genres. But why do certain people and historical events arouse so much interest? How can biographies be compared with history and works of fiction? Does a biography need to be true? Is it acceptable to omit or conceal things? Does the biographer need to personally know the subject? Must a biographer be subjective? In this Very Short Introduction Hermione Lee considers the cultural and historical background of different types of biographies, looking at the factors that affect biographers and whether there are different strategies, ethics, and principles required for writing about one person compared to another. She also considers contemporary biographical publications and considers what kind of 'lives' are the most popular and in demand. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Oxford's "Very Short Introductions" series offers concise overviews of central issues of a topic. Distinguished writer, reviewer, and biographer Lee (Virginia Wolfe; Edith Wharton) here examines the various forms of biography throughout history. Lee details the biography as an autopsy, a posthumous exercise in scrutiny, and a portrait that captures characterization, referencing many works of classic British biography to show the changes in the writing form from the Victorian era through the golden ages and modern times. Especially informative is the comparison of how various American biographers have presented their works on Marilyn Monroe, showing how a writer's style illuminates the subliminal relationship between the biographer and the subject. VERDICT Students of biography and writing will appreciate the broad overview packed into this succinct work.—Joyce Sparrow, Clearwater, FL
From the Publisher

"Distinguished writer, reviewer, and biographer Lee...details the biography as an autopsy, a posthumous exercise in scrutiny, and a portrait that captures characterization, referencing many works of classic British biography to show the changes in the writing form from the Victorian era through the golden ages and modern times...Students of biography and writing will appreciate the broad overview packed into this succinct work." --Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780191623011
Publisher:
OUP Oxford
Publication date:
07/09/2009
Series:
Very Short Introductions
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
796,884
File size:
5 MB

Meet the Author

Hermione Lee was the Goldsmiths' Chair of English Literature and Fellow of New College at the University of Oxford. In 2008, Lee was elected President of Wolfson College, University of Oxford. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, of the British Academy, and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2003, she was made a Companion of the British Empire for Services to Literature.

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