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Lines of Life

Theories of Biography, 1880-1970

David Novarr

202 pages
Purdue University Press
The study of biography has leaped from surveys of biographical writing and statements of biographical practice to semiotic and post-structuralist discussions of the modality of biography without adequate consideration of what has already been done in the theory of the genre. Professor Novarr has closed that gap with this comprehensive and judicious historical survey and assessment of all the major (and many of the minor) statements made about biography in the crucial period 1880-1970. It traces, in the work of writers like David Cecil, Leon Edel, Mark Schorer, Paul Murray Kendall, and others, the nature of the relation between biographer and subject, the concept that biography is essentially the interpretation of one mind by another, and the idea that the biographer's angle of vision is both inevitable and important.