Biography as High Adventure: Life-Writers Speak on Their Art

By Stephen B. Oates | Go to book overview

About the Biographers

Catherine Drinker Bowen produced a significant body of biographical work in her lifetime, including Yankee from Olympus: Justice [Oliver Wendell] Holmes and His Family( 1944), John Adams and the American Revolution ( 1950), The Lion and the Throne: The Life and Times of Sir Edward Coke ( 1957), Adventures of a Biographer ( 1959), Francis Bacon: The Temper of a Man ( 1963), and Biography: The Craft and the Calling ( 1969). The Lion and the Throne won a National Book Award for nonfiction. Bowen was a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the American Philosophical Society.

Leon Edel, for many years Henry James Professor of English and American Letters at New York University and Citizens Professor of English at the University of Hawaii, is the author of The Life of Henry James ( 5 vols., 1953-72), Bloomsbury: A House of Lions ( 1979), and Writing Lives: Principia Biographica ( 1984). His life of James, which won a Pulitzer Prize, a National Book Award, and the Gold Medal for Biography from the American Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, is now available in a one-volume edition. He is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Royal Society of Literature, and an elected member of the Society of American Historians.

Justin Kaplan Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain, A Biography ( 1966) won a National Book Award in Arts and Letters and the Pulitzer Prize for biography. He is also the author of Lincoln Steffens, A Biography ( 1974), Mark Twain and His World ( 1974), and Walt Whitman, A Life ( 1980), which won the American Book Award for biography. An elected member of the Society of American Historians and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is currently writing a biography of Charlie Chaplin.

Paul Murray Kendall taught for thirty-three years at Ohio University, where he served as Regents Professor of English. In his lifetime, he produced a magnificent fifteenth-century biographical trilogy: Richard the Third ( 1956), Warwick the Kingmaker ( 1957), and

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Biography as High Adventure: Life-Writers Speak on Their Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Prologue ix
  • One - Biography as a Work of Art 3
  • Two - The Figure Under the Carpet 18
  • Three - Walking the Boundaries 32
  • Four - Biography as an Agent of Humanism 50
  • Five - The Biographer's Relationship With His Hero 65
  • Six - The "Real Life" 70
  • Seven - The Burdens of Biography 77
  • Eight - Biography as a Prism of History 93
  • Nine - Reaassembling the Dust 104
  • Ten - Biography as High Adventure 124
  • About the Biographers 139
  • Index 143
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