Biography: A Very Short Introduction

Biography: A Very Short Introduction

Paperback Very Short Introductions

By (author) Hermione Lee

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 113mm x 174mm x 10mm | 158g
  • Publication date: 31 August 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199533547
  • ISBN 13: 9780199533541
  • Edition: 1
  • Illustrations note: 15 b&w halftone
  • Sales rank: 100,782

Product description

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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Author information

Hermoine Lee is a well-known literary biographer, author of critical studies of Elizabeth Bowen, Willa Cather, and Philip Roth. She has also written major biographies of Virginia Woolf (1996), and Edith Wharton (2007), a selection of which was published by Princeton University Press as Virginia Woolf's Nose (2005). From 1998 to 2008 she was the Goldsmiths' Professor of English Literature and a Fellow of New College at the University of Oxford. She is now President of Wolfson College.

Review quote

It would be hard to think of anyone better to provide a crisp contribution to OUP's Very Short Introductions. Kathryn Hughes, The Guardian A sophisticated overview for the general reader. Andrew Lycett, Literary Review Enjoyable book on the subject. Henry Power, TLS

Table of contents

1. The Biography Channel ; 2. Exemplary Lives ; 3. Warts and All ; 4. National Biography ; 5. Fallen Idols ; 6. Against Biography ; 7. Public Roles ; 8. Telling the Story