Biography: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Hermione Lee

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191623016

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 192

View: 4234


Biography is one of the most popular, best-selling, and widely-read of literary genres. But why do certain people and historical events arouse so much interest? How can biographies be compared with history and works of fiction? Does a biography need to be true? Is it acceptable to omit or conceal things? Does the biographer need to personally know the subject? Must a biographer be subjective? In this Very Short Introduction Hermione Lee considers the cultural and historical background of different types of biographies, looking at the factors that affect biographers and whether there are different strategies, ethics, and principles required for writing about one person compared to another. She also considers contemporary biographical publications and considers what kind of 'lives' are the most popular and in demand. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Hannah Arendt: a Very Short Introduction

Author: N.A

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0198806981

Category:

Page: 161

View: 2942


Very Short Introductions: Brilliant, Sharp, Inspiring Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was one of the major intellectual figures of the twentieth century. Born in Konigsberg to secular Jewish parents, she was a student of the two major exponents of Existenz philosophy in Germany, Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger. Arendt escaped Nazi Germany in 1933, traveling first to Paris and then in 1940 to the United States, where she gained citizenship in 1951. As director of the Jewish Cultural Reconstruction she oversaw the collection and presentation of over 1.5 million articles of Judaica and Hebraica that had been hidden from or looted by the Nazis. This Very Short Introduction explores the philosophical ideas and political theories belonging to one of the most important thinkers of the twentieth century. As a survivor of the Holocaust, Arendt's life informed her work exploring the meaning and construction of power, evil, totalitarianism, and direct democracy. Through insightful readings of Arendt's best-known works, from The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) to The Life of the Mind (1978), Dana Villa traces the importance of Arendt's ideas for today's reader. In so doing, Villa explains how Arendt gained world-wide fame with the publication of Origins, and went on to have a distinguished career as a political theorist and public intellectual. A sometimes controversial figure, Arendt is now recognised as one of the most important political thinkers of the twentieth century and her works have become an acknowledged part of the Western canon of political theory and philosophy. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

George Bernard Shaw: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Christopher Wixson

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0192590359

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 160

View: 8495


George Bernard Shaw has been called the second greatest playwright in English (after William Shakespeare) and one of the inventors of modern celebrity as the most famous public intellectual of his time. Beginning in the 1880s, as a critic and as a playwright, he transformed British drama, bringing to it intellectual substance, ethical imperatives, and modernity itself, setting the theatrical course for the subsequent century. That his legacy endures seventy years after his death is testament to the prescience of his thinking and his prolific creativity. This Very Short Introduction looks at Shaw's life, starting with his upbringing in Ireland, and then takes a chronological approach through his works. Considering Shaw's committed antagonism on behalf of a range of socio-political issues; his use of comedy as a mode for communicating serious ideas; and his rhetorical style that pushes conventional boundaries, Christopher Wixson provides an overview of the creative evolution of core themes throughout Shaw's long career. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The English Language: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Simon Horobin

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191019321

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 152

View: 4310


The English language is spoken by more than a billion people throughout the world. But where did English come from? And how has it evolved into the language used today? In this Very Short Introduction Simon Horobin investigates how we have arrived at the English we know today, and celebrates the way new speakers and new uses mean that it continues to adapt. Engaging with contemporary concerns about correctness, Horobin considers whether such changes are improvements, or evidence of slipping standards. What is the future for the English language? Will Standard English continue to hold sway, or we are witnessing its replacement by newly emerging Englishes? ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Nazi Germany: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jane Caplan

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0191016896

Category: History

Page: 144

View: 914


Any consideration of the 20th century would be incomplete without a discussion of Nazi Germany, an extraordinary regime which dominated European history for 12 years, and left a legacy that still echoes with us today. The incredible force of the destructive vision at the heart of Nazi Germany led to a second world war when the world was still aching from the first one, and an incomprehensible death count, both at home and abroad. In this Very Short Introduction, Jane Caplan's insightful analysis of Nazi Germany provides a highly relevant reminder of the fragility of democratic institutions, and the ways in which the exploitation of national fears, mass political movements, and frail political opposition can lead to the imposition of dictatorship. Considering the emergence and popular appeal of the Nazi party, she discusses the relationships between belief, consent, and terror in securing the regime, alongside the crucial role played by Hitler himself. Covering the full history of the regime, she includes an unflinching look at the dark stains of war, persecution, and genocide. At the same time, Caplan offers unexpected angles of vision and insights; asking readers to look behind the handful of over-used images of Nazi Germany we are familiar with, and to engage critically with a history that that is so abhorrent it risks seeming beyond interpretation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Towards a Poetics of Literary Biography

Author: Michael Benton

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 1137549580

Category: Fiction

Page: 165

View: 6214


Drawing upon a wide range of biographies of literary subjects, from Shakespeare and Wordsworth to William Golding and V.S. Naipaul, this book develops a poetics of literary biography based on the triangular relationships of lives, works and times and how narrative operates in holding them together. Biography is seen as a hybrid genre in which historical and fictional elements are imaginatively combined. It considers the roles of story-telling, factual data in the art of life-writing, and the literariness of its language. It includes a case study of the biography of Ellen Terry, discussion of the controversial relationship between a subject's life and works, 'biographical criticism' and, through the issue of gender, the social and cultural changes biographies reflect. It frames a poetics on the basis of its strategy and tactics and demonstrates how the literal truth of verifiable data and the poetic truth of what is narrated are interdependent.

A Companion to Literary Biography

Author: Richard Bradford

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 1118896297

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 628

View: 3627


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.

In Collaboration with British Literary Biography

Author: Jane McVeigh

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319583832

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 217

View: 5699


This book is about one person’s reading and what has been learnt about how the lives of other people, particularly authors, have been written in British literary biographies over the last fifty years. It is less interested in what happened in the lives of the people described in these biographies, and more concerned with how these stories have been told. It aims to have a conversation with British biographers, particularly Michael Holroyd, Richard Holmes, Hermione Lee and Claire Tomalin, to make their voices heard, to set them talking. It understands biography as an ongoing collaboration, not only between biographers and their subjects, but between biographers and their readers. This is also a study of haunting, in which we haunt the lives of others to help us come to a better understanding of our own.

After Ancient Biography

Author: Robert Fraser

Publisher: Springer Nature

ISBN: 3030351696

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 273

View: 9594


Marrying life-writing with classical reception, this book examines ancient biography and its impact on subsequent ages. Close readings of ancient texts are framed by an assessment of their influence on the age of the French Revolution and Napoleon, and on the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, of responses to ancient biography of modern critics, and of its visible legacy in art and film. Crucially it asks what modern biographers can learn from their ancient predecessors. Are the challenges involved in life-writing still the same? Have working methods changed, and in what ways? What in the context of biographical writing is truth, and how are its interests best served? How is it possible, now as then, honestly to convey a life?

The New Testament as Literature: A Very Short Introduction

Author: Kyle Keefer

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199840016

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 136

View: 4151


The words, phrases, and stories of the New Testament permeate the English language. Indeed, this relatively small group of twenty-seven works, written during the height of the Roman Empire, not only helped create and sustain a vast world religion, but also have been integral to the larger cultural dynamics of the West, above and beyond particular religious expressions. Looking at the New Testament through the lens of literary study, Kyle Keefer offers an engrossing exploration of this revered religious text as a work of literature, but also keeps in focus its theological ramifications. Unique among books that examine the Bible as literature, this brilliantly compact introduction offers an intriguing double-edged look at this universal text--a religiously informed literary analysis. The book first explores the major sections of the New Testament--the gospels, Paul's letters, and Revelation--as individual literary documents. Keefer shows how, in such familiar stories as the parable of the Good Samaritan, a literary analysis can uncover an unexpected complexity to what seems a simple, straightforward tale. At the conclusion of the book, Keefer steps back and asks questions about the New Testament as a whole. He reveals that whether read as a single document or as a collection of works, the New Testament presents readers with a wide variety of forms and viewpoints, and a literary exploration helps bring this richness to light. A fascinating investigation of the New Testament as a classic literary work, this Very Short Introduction uses a literary framework--plot, character, narrative arc, genre--to illuminate the language, structure, and the crafting of this venerable text. About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.