Towards a poetics of literary biography

Journal of Aesthetic Education 45 (3):67-87 (2011)
Biography is an ancient literary genre. First of all—chronologically and logically it is a part of historiography. Whether we think of biography as more like history or more like fiction, what we want from it is a vivid sense of the person. The cover illustration of the fortieth anniversary edition of E. H. Carr’s What is History?1 is a close-up of an eye with fluffy white clouds against a blue iris and a dramatic black pupil in the center. Magritte called this painting The False Mirror, an apt image for the untrustworthy nature of our perceptions of the world and, in its use here, for the uncertainties surrounding definitions of history in the past half century. Confusion has often accompanied ..
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