Understanding Biographies

On Biographies in History and Stories in Biography

By Birgitte Possing

Contributions by: Gaye Kynoch

In modern and postmodern times, biography is one of the most popular genres of the day. The Western world is engaged in the lives of ordinary and well-known people, causing biographies to fly off the shelves. In Understanding Biographies, the Danish historian and biographer Birgitte Possing uncovers the essence of biography as a genre, spanning a number of radically different types of life-storytelling. She defines biography as a genre, a narrative form and an analytic field, providing guidelines to an understanding of gender, archetypes, narrative traditions, critique and ethics of the field. Understanding Biographies is not a cook book with just one recipe for 'how to write a biography.' It does not provide simple answers to questions on how, why or upon which sources biographies should be written or read. On the contrary, this book shows the numerous styles and wide-ranging conventions around the Western world in which biographies are accomplished. Birgitte Possing interprets the biographical renaissance during the last thirty years as completely in keeping with the individualizing zeitgeist around the millennium shift. She identifies and reflects on the traditions that have been applied in international writing and reading of biographies, with examples from a wide range of Western and Nordic countries. *** "Wielding her expertise in history and precise language, Possing digs to the center of biography and its place in society, both currently and historically." --World Literature Today Magazine, Nota Bene section, September/October 2017(Series: Studies in History and Social Sciences, Vol. 538) [Subject: Literature, Literary Criticism, Biography, Writing]~~

Publication Date: 1/1/2017
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9788776749927