The Biographer and the Subject: A Study on Biographical Distance by Rana TekcanThe Biographer and the Subject: A Study on Biographical Distance by Rana Tekcan

The Biographer and the Subject: A Study on Biographical Distance

byRana Tekcan

Paperback | March 1, 2010

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A good biography is a well-staged illusion. It creates-on paper-a vivid, rounded, and immediate sense of lived life. In contrast to purely fictional forms, biography writing does not allow total freedom to the biographer in the creative act. Ideally, a biography's backbone is formed by accurate historical facts. But its soul lies elsewhere. Since the concern is life, something more is needed: Nothing dry, cold or dead, but a vibrant impression of life that is left in the air after one turns over the last page. But how does a biographer do it? The way a biographer creates a subject is largely dictated by the historical distance between them. There are three types of distance in biographical writing: First, where the biographer and the subject personally know one another; second, where the biographer is a near contemporary of the subject; and third, where biographer and subject are distinctly separated, in some cases by hundreds of years. Tekcan explores how some of the most accomplished biographers manage to "recreate life" across time and space. She closely examines Samuel Johnson's "Life of Mr. Richard Savage", James Boswell's "Life of Samuel Johnson", Lytton Strachey's "Eminent Victorians", Michael Holroyd's "Lytton Strachey", Park Honan's "Jane Austen", and Andrew Motion's "Keats".

Rana Tekcan is assistant professor of English at Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey. She has published articles on Boswell, Austen, Shakespeare, and biography as a genre. She has published articles on Boswell, Austen, and Shakespeare, edited Turkish translations of Pride and Prejudice, Macbeth, Anthony and Cleopatra, and Julius Caesar,...
Title:The Biographer and the Subject: A Study on Biographical DistanceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:178 pagesPublished:March 1, 2010Publisher:ibidem PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:389821995X

ISBN - 13:9783898219952


Table of Contents

AcknowledgementsIntroduction1. Eating and Drinking with the Subject: Johnson's Life of Savage and Boswell's Life of Johnson2. Judas and the Frog Prince: Strachey's Eminent Victorians and Holroyd's Lytton Strachey3. Too Far for Comfort: Honan's Jane Austen, Her Life and Motion's KeatsConclusionBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Tekcan's initial question-asking what it is that brings life writing to life-is an interesting one, and her case studies yield some glancing insights, particularly in the discussion of more recent biographies.