Literary Lives: Biography and the Search for Understanding

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Psychology Press, 2000 - Biography & Autobiography - 195 pages
Literary Lives is a biographer's analysis of literary biography. David Ellis here explains how biographers try to understand the lives of their subjects. Ellis ranges from Dr Johnson to the present, touching upon books by and about Jean-Paul Sartre, Dickens, James, Flaubert, Woolf, Plath, Greene, Orwell, Yeats, Hemingway, and even such non-literary figures as Mozart, Picasso, and Cezanne.
With great clarity Ellis analyzes four models that underlie biographical interpretation: the familial, the psychological, the medical, and the sociological. Each has yielded fascinating insights in the hands of skilled biographers. Literary Lives offers our first map of the biographer's workshop, showing the student and casual reader alike how the biographer approaches the challenges of the genre.

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Biography and Explanation
Primal Scenes
Body Matters
The Sociological Imagination
History Chance and Selfdetermination
Compatibility Sartre and Long Biographies
Dignity and Uses of Biography

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About the author (2000)

David Ellis is Professor of English Literature at the University of Kent at Canterbury. Among his books is D.H. Lawrence: Dying Game, 1922-1930, the acclaimed third volume of the writer's biography

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