Biography as History: Men and Movements in Europe since 1500

Biography as History: Men and Movements in Europe since 1500

Biography as History: Men and Movements in Europe since 1500

Biography as History: Men and Movements in Europe since 1500

Excerpt

The following pages first estimate the value and sketch the development of biography and, secondly, relate men to events and tendencies. I have chosen my subjects arbitrarily, not seeking completeness or perfection, for in many instances the availability of materials and familiarity with subject matter have shaped my choices. Throughout I have tried to select men important for their time as well as for years to come, men who were typical but not stereotypical. Doubtless other subjects would have better satisfied many readers; but, ever clutching at a pedagogical straw, let me suggest that some value may accrue from two or three assignments. Propose one debate on better choices, another on why some men have, and others have not, got biographies, a third on what men of today are likely to be remembered twenty, fifty, two hundred years hence, and why. Trace the reputation of a well known personality through different periods of the past; account for the contrasting interpretations of such a personality by different authors in the same period. Consider also a calendar of great men for other areas and other periods. Once such projects are attempted the richness of the subject and the problems of choice will be fully appreciated.

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