Grover Cleveland, the Man and the Statesman: An Authorized Biography - Vol. 1

Grover Cleveland, the Man and the Statesman: An Authorized Biography - Vol. 1

Grover Cleveland, the Man and the Statesman: An Authorized Biography - Vol. 1

Grover Cleveland, the Man and the Statesman: An Authorized Biography - Vol. 1

Excerpt

We have been told recently that there are too many biographies. The complaint indicates a sense of compulsion to read them. This can come only from a belief that they probably contain something which ought not to be overlooked. The real ground of the condemnation, therefore, is not that biographies are not worth reading, but that they ought to be read and that they therefore impose additional obligations upon men who may perhaps feel overburdened. The condemnation thus becomes a justification.

The most obvious appeal of a biography to the generations which have direct or close knowledge of the man written about; which have knowledge of the things he has done, of the affairs in which he has played part, of the men with or against whom he has worked--is really a very narrow and minor function of biography. The more important function is as an effective mode of presenting history for the benefit of the future, which has to get its knowledge entirely from books or traditions. Biography makes a period interesting by throwing a high light on a central figure and establishing a relation between all the conditions and incidents of the time with that figure. If only one of the significant figures of a period were made the subject of biography there would be an effect of disproportion due to overemphasis. But that is seldom if ever the case. Men worth writing about are naturally grouped in periods. Their biographies reproduce the same background with different emphasis. On . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.