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Towards a poetics of literary biography

Towards a poetics of literary biography

Benton, Michael, 1939- author

This volume develops a poetics of literary biography based on the triangular relationships of lives, works and times and how narrative operates in holding them together. Drawing upon a wide range of biographies of literary subjects, from Shakespeare and Wordsworth to William Golding and V.S. Naipaul, this book develops a poetics of literary biography based on the triangular relationships of lives, works and times and how narrative operates in holding them together. Biography is seen as a hybrid genre in which historical and fictional elements are imaginatively combined. It considers the roles of story-telling, factual data in the art of life-writing, and the literariness of its language. It includes a case study of the biography of Ellen Terry, discussion of the controversial relationship between a subject's life and works, 'biographical criticism' and, through the issue of gender, the social and cultural changes biographies reflect. It frames a poetics on the basis of its strategy and tactics and demonstrates how the literal truth of verifiable data and the poetic truth of what is narrated are interdependent

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015
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Details

Statement of responsibility: Michael Benton
ISBN: 1137549580, 9781137549587
Note: Formerly CIP.
Physical Description: 1 volume
Subject: Literary studies: general; Fiction: general & literary; Literature: history & criticism; Authors, English Biography History and criticism Theory, etc.; Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers; Authors Biography Authorship.; English prose literature History and criticism Theory, etc.; Literary theory; Society & culture: general; Literary studies: poetry & poets; Biography as a literary form.; Literature
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9781137549570

Contents

  1. Preface Introduction
  2. Lives Without Theory 1. Art & Artifice in Biography2. Plotting A Life3. The Author's Works (1)
  3. Signs of Life?4. The Author's Works (2)
  4. Open to Criticism?5. Their Times and Ours 6. Framing a Poetics of Literary Biography Notes and ReferencesSelect BibliographyIndex

Author note

Michael Benton is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Southampton, UK. His publications include Teaching Literature 9 - 14 (with Geoff Fox) and several anthologies of poetry, notably Touchstones (with Peter Benton). His most recent books are Studies in the Spectator Role: Literature, Painting & Pedagogy (2000) and Literary Biography: An Introduction (2009).

Description

Drawing upon a wide range of biographies of literary subjects, from Shakespeare and Wordsworth to William Golding and V.S. Naipaul, this book develops a poetics of literary biography based on the triangular relationships of lives, works and times and how narrative operates in holding them together. Biography is seen as a hybrid genre in which historical and fictional elements are imaginatively combined. It considers the roles of story-telling, factual data in the art of life-writing, and the literariness of its language. It includes a case study of the biography of Ellen Terry, discussion of the controversial relationship between a subject's life and works, 'biographical criticism' and, through the issue of gender, the social and cultural changes biographies reflect. It frames a poetics on the basis of its strategy and tactics and demonstrates how the literal truth of verifiable data and the poetic truth of what is narrated are interdependent.

Reviews

"A polished and focused piece of work, which will make a significant contribution to the literature on life-writing, and in particular biographical writing. The author is at all times judicious and informed in his discussions of both the biographies and of the writers they explore. The writing is lucid and insightful."  - Laura Marcus, Goldsmiths' Professor of English Literature, University of Oxford, UK