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The Art of Literary Biography$
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John Batchelor

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198182894

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182894.001.0001

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Biography: Cult as Culture

Biography: Cult as Culture

(p.57) 4 Biography: Cult as Culture
The Art of Literary Biography


Oxford University Press

It is an appropriate hors d'oeuvre to begin the discussion on a biographical note, not as an offering to the gallery but in recognition of the spirit of a genre in which it would be absurd to separate the thinking from the person. Everything in biography and about biography is interpretation of individuals. There is no meaning talk about a ‘life’ beyond interpretation. As long as a culture believes in the superiority of authentic self-expression, autobiography will be valued by it as the best way to get access to an individual life. It is argued that the autobiographical act, in many cultures, represents a strange anomaly. A thesis which demolishes the assertion that the post-modern condition is congenial to biography is tested. Cultural difference is discussed and the question is asked why the Germans have not availed themselves of it.

Keywords:   biography, culture, autobiography, life

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