Understanding our selves: the dangerous art of biography
Modern Western biography has become one of the most popular and most controversial forms of literature. Critics have attacked its tendency to rely on a strong narrative drive, its focus on a single person's life and its tendency to delve ever more deeply into that person's inner, private experience, though these tendencies seem to have only increased biography's popularity. To date, however, biography has been a rarely studied literary from. Little serious attention has been given to the light biographies can shed on philosophical problems, such as the intertwining of knowledge and power, or the ways in which we can understand lives, or terms like 'the self'. Should selves be seen as relational or as autonomous? What of the 'lies and silences' of biographies, the ways in which embodiment can be ignored? A study of these problems allows engagement with a range of philosophers and literary theorists, including Roland Barthes, Lorraine Code, Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Levinas, Alasdair MacIntyre, Ray Monk, Friedrich Nietzsche, Paul Ricoeur, Richard Rorty and Charles Taylor. Biography can be a dangerous art, claiming to know just how you feel'. This book explores the double-edged nature of biography, looking at what it reveals about both narratives and selves.
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The Myth of Objective Biography
Embodiment in Biography
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achievements Alasdair MacIntyre Albert Speer approach argues argument Aristotelian Ashton attitude autobiography autonomous Bertrand Russell biographical critics biographical narratives biographical subject chapter Clendinnen Coleridge's compassion compassionate conceptualisation contrast criticised Daniel Deronda debates Eakin earlier Early Visions Edel embodiment emphasis epistemology ethical example experience feminist fictional focus focused Foucault Freadman Fruman Gaita genre George Eliot Ghost of Madness Haines Helen Holmes Holmes's human interest Jopling Lefebure Lefebure's Leon Edel letters Levinas Levinas's philosophy linear narrative literary lives look MacIntyre MacIntyre's Mendelson Monk Monk's biography moral accountability narrator Nietzsche Nietzsche's notes objections Ottoline particular person philosophical pity possible postmodern potential problems question quotes Raimond Gaita reader relation reminds Ricoeur Roland Barthes role Romantic Rorty Rowley Rowley's Russell's Samuel Taylor Coleridge Sara Coleridge Sartre seems seen Sereny Sereny's Speer Spirit of Solitude Stead story stress suffering suggests sympathy Thoreau truth understanding Virtue vulnerability writing
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