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By Barbara Caine

Biography is the oldest method of writing approximately ancient occasions, and the most renowned. the advanced dating among the self-discipline of historical past and the writing of lives, Biography and History:
• is the 1st paintings to discover the numerous position of biography inside of ancient writing at the moment time
• combines a dialogue of the background of biography with a longer research of latest methods to biography
• hyperlinks advancements inside of historical past to the broader curiosity in auto/biography and life-writing, and to literary methods
• means that there are a few certain beneficial properties within the ways that historians deal with biography.

Original and insightful, this can be a vital advent to a starting to be, and more and more vital, box of research and research.

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Extra info for Biography and History

Example text

It took rather longer for there to be open discussion of the extramarital relationships of men who were admired or revered: the extramarital affair of Franklin D. Roosevelt, for example, was not much discussed until the late 1960s and early 1970s, but it was certainly evident in the biographies of him and of Eleanor Roosevelt published in those decades. Those years also saw the first detailed discussions of the long-standing sexual relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, which had been hinted at but was categorically denied throughout most of the nineteenth century.

Coming to terms with the nature of an individual, which is a subject of such interest in much current biography, replaces the possibility of emulation with a much stronger 42 Biography and History sense of the emotional and psychological complexity of an individual and of the challenge posed by the desire to understand. Obviously this drive for understanding has brought a new sense of what aspects of the life of an individual it is either interesting or appropriate to investigate. While contemporary biographers, like most of their predecessors, stress the importance of an understanding of private life, the twentieth-century notion of ‘private’ focused far more on the intimate relationships that individuals had with their parents and siblings, with sexual partners and with very close friends to whom they had deep emotional attachments than had previously been the case.

The real birth of ideas takes place in human brains. The reason why this happens is that human beings have vitality. 40 There was a pervasive sense that biography, in concentrating on one individual, was much simpler, and less rigorous or demanding than history and this is referred to by many of those who recall how strongly they were discouraged from undertaking it. This general sense was so widely shared as to require little formal articulation. Thus no more than a couple of sentences were devoted to dismissing biography in two of the most widely read of the general discussions of the nature of history of the mid-twentieth century: E.

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