This book describes and evaluated the ever-intensifiying uneasiness felt by contemporary readers and critics when they confront real people in fictional texts. The book's range and depth of analysis is impressive. The fortunes of Dutch Schultz, Lee Harvey Oswald, and Richard Nixon at the hands of novelists, dramatists, film makers and composers receive close attention, and so do fictional representations of biographers themselves.
Introduction: Biographical narrative as "magical disturbance"; Part 1 biographical narrative in practice: French canadian bean soup - Dutch schultz, deathbed autobiography and the postmodern gangster fiction; conspirtational identity - biography, fiction and the Oswold enigma; writing the vaccum - Richard Nixon as narrative subject. Part 2 - biographical narrative in theory: the problem of Genre I - biography and/as history; the problem of Genre II - fictional reality and modes of biographical narrative; theory makes practice - the quest of the biographer hero. Afteward - writing about writing about the historical figure. Appendix - text of the "Last Words of Dutch Schultz".