A Companion to Literary Biography

Front Cover
Richard Bradford
John Wiley & Sons, Sep 18, 2018 - Biography & Autobiography - 632 pages

An authoritative review of literary biography covering the seventeenth century to the twentieth century

A Companion to Literary Biography offers a comprehensive account of literary biography spanning the history of the genre across three centuries. The editor – an esteemed literary biographer and noted expert in the field – has encouraged contributors to explore the theoretical and methodological questions raised by the writing of biographies of writers. The text examines how biographers have dealt with the lives of classic authors from Chaucer to contemporary figures such as Kingsley Amis.

The Companion brings a new perspective on how literary biography enables the reader to deal with the relationship between the writer and their work. Literary biography is the most popular form of writing about writing, yet it has been largely neglected in the academic community. This volume bridges the gap between literary biography as a popular genre and its relevance for the academic study of literature. This important work:

  • Allows the author of a biography to be treated as part of the process of interpretation and investigates biographical reading as an important aspect of criticism
  • Examines the birth of literary biography at the close of the seventeenth century and considers its expansion through the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries
  • Addresses the status and writing of literary biography from numerous perspectives and with regard to various sources, methodologies and theories
  • Reviews the ways in which literary biography has played a role in our perception of writers in the mainstream of the English canon from Chaucer to the present day

Written for students at the undergraduate level, through postgraduate and doctoral levels, as well as academics, A Companion to Literary Biography illustrates and accounts for the importance of the literary biography as a vital element of criticism and as an index to our perception of literary history.


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The Emergence of Literary Biography
to the Lake Poets Cockney Keats and Satanic Shelley
Modernist Caricatures
Ethics and Literary Biography
Concerns about Facts and Form in Literary Biography
Feminism and Biography
The Role of Diaries in the Development of Literary Biography
Evelyn Waugh and Muriel Spark
Writing Shakespeares Life
John Donne
Jonathan Swift
Life and Death in the Literary Biographies of Pope and His Circle
Richardson and Fielding

Literary Biography Literary Autobiography
The Archival Legacies of Canadian
Literary Biography
J M Coetzee and the Ethics of Style in Autobiography
Richmal Crompton and Others
the Postmodern Memoir
The Materials of Literary Biography
Renaissance Playwrights
Obfuscation and Invention
Dickens Tennyson Kipling
Would the Real Mr Eliot Please Stand
Literary Biography and the DeCanonization of Amy Lowell
Reviewing the Lives and Works of Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis

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About the author (2018)

Richard Bradford is Research Professor of English at Ulster University and Visiting Professor at the University of Avignon. He has held posts in Oxford, the University of Wales, and Trinity College, Dublin. He has produced 25 academic monographs on a variety of topics and has published well-reviewed literary biographies with trade presses on figures such as Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin, Alan Sillitoe, Martin Amis, John Milton, and Ernest Hemingway.

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