Literary Biography: An Introduction illustrates and accounts for the literary genre that merges historical facts with the conventions of narrative while revealing how the biographical context can enrich the study of canonical authors. Provides up-to-date and comprehensive coverage of issues and controversies in life writing, a rapidly growing field of study Offers a valuable biographical and historical context for the study of major classic and contemporary authors Features an interview with Wilfred Owen's biographer, Dominic Hibberd; a gallery of literary portraits with commentaries; close readings that illustrate the differences between fiction and biography; speculation about likely future developments; and detailed suggestions for further reading
Michael Benton is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southampton. His publications include the highly influential Teaching Literature 9-14 (with Geoff Fox, 1985) and several widely used anthologies of poetry, most notably the Touchstones series (with Peter Benton, various editions 1968-2008). His most recent book was Studies in the Spectator Role: Literature, Painting and Pedagogy (2000).
List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction 1. Literary Biography Now and Then The Cinderella of Literary Studies The Rise and Rise of Literary Biography Dr Johnson: Biographer, Theorist and Subject Virginia Woolf: Time, Memory and Identity 2. Life [Hi]Stories: Telling Tales Aspects of Narrative (i) Beginnings: Charlotte Bronte (ii) Middles: Thomas Hardy (iii) Endings: Jane Austen The Naked Biographer Inventing the Truth 3. Reading Biography Biographer, Biography and the Reader Imagining Blake Problems of a Hybrid Form Reading Lessons 4. Literary Biomythography Biomythography Myth-Making: The Bronte Paradigm (i) Facts: Selection and 'Spin' (ii) Fact into Fiction (iii) Fiction into Myth (iv) Myth into 'Faction' (v) Demythologising the Brontes Variations on the Theme (i) Byron (ii) Dickens (iii) Sylvia Plath Conclusions 5. Inferential Biography: Shakespeare the Invisible Man Virtual Shakespeares (i) The Facts (ii) The Theatrical Context (iii) The Social Context (iv) The Shakespeare Mythos (v) The Shakespeare Canon The Implied Author: Inferential Biography (i) The Art of Love: The Sonnets (ii) Prejudice, Discrimination and the Law: The Merchant of Venice (iii) War and the Politics of Nationhood: Henry V (iv) Language and Thinking: Hamlet (v) Art and Artifice: The Tempest The Limits of Imagination 6. Literary Biography and Portraiture Sister Arts (i) Biography and Portraiture: Reynolds's Portrait of Dr Johnson (ii) Reading the Image: Cassandra Austen's Sketch of Jane Austen (iii) Visual Myth-Making: Henry Weekes's Shelley Monument (iv) Celebrity Image: Thomas Phillips's Portrait of Byron in Albanian Dress (v) Visual Memoir: Joseph Severn's Portrait of John Keats (vi) Bardography: The Chandos Portrait of Shakespeare (vii) The Inner Life: R. W. Buss's Dickens's Dream (viii) Sisters' Arts: Vanessa Bell's Portrait of Virginia Woolf (ix) 'To prepare a face ...': Patrick Heron's Portrait of T. S. Eliot (x) Branwell's Ghost: Branwell Bronte's Portrait of his Three Sisters Art to Order 7. Comparative Biography: Dickens's 'Lives' The Victorian Dickens The Modern Dickens The Post-Modern Dickens Lives and Times 8. Literary Auto/Biography Acts of Self-Creation in Wordsworth and Joyce Wordsworth's 'biographic verse' Joyce's 'artist, like the God of creation' Masks and Metaphors 9. Biography in Practice An Interview with Dominic Hibberd, author of Wilfred Owen: A New Biography Living with the Subject Imagining Wilfred Matters of Life and Death 10. Authorised Lives The Life of Graham Greene by Norman Sherry Bernard Shaw by Michael Holroyd T. S. Eliot by Peter Ackroyd Orwell: The Life by D. J. Taylor Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life by Andrew Motion Contemporary Lives 11. Literary Lives: Scenes and Stories Dinner with Dr Johnson and John Wilkes Dinner with Mrs Ramsay Biography and Fiction 12. Biography and the Future Select Bibliography Further Reading General Bibliography Index