Carl Rollyson's lively and anecdotal investigation of writing about the lives others examines his own practices as well as those of biographers from Samuel Johnson to Richard Ellmann and many others. By its very nature, Mr. Rollyson argues, biography is controversial-it invites the burglar, and justifiably so, especially in the case of literary heroes. A Higher Form of Cannibalism? explores the gap between the scholarly and the popular, the "authorized" and the "unauthorized"-which may not be as wide as most people suppose. "A candid and revealing account, by an expert in the minefield, of the biographer's contentious work. I've been writing lives for thirty years and learned a lot from it."-Jeffrey Meyers.
Carl Rollyson has written biographies of Rebecca West, Norman Mailer, Martha Gellhorn, Lillian Hellman, Marilyn Monroe, and (with Lisa Paddock) Susan Sontag. A graduate of Michigan State University and the University of Toronto, he is professor of English at Baruch College of the City University of New York and a longtime student of the art of biography. He lives in Cape May County, New Jersey.