Thursday, November 24, 2022

Biography: Fiction, Fact & Form

Biography: Fiction, Fact & FormBiography: Fiction, Fact & Form 
by Ira B. Nadel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This volume is essentially a collection of six essays on various aspects of biography as a literary form. I found it thought-provoking and in sections very interesting. The tone of the writing is very academic which made it rather slow going. One of the essays looks at the various approaches biographers have taken in writing lives of George Eliot which was a good way to really see the choices that are being made by the authors of biography.
"Nonetheless, when a biographer recognizes that the life he writes is in itself and aesthetic construct involving fictions, imagery, style and narration, parallel to the inner life of his subject, itself a fiction, the result may be a biography that is at the same time literary and truthful. It will also reflect the ambiguous, self-contradictory, illogical individual that is its subject." (p. 118)
When he wrote this book Ira B. Nadel was a professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.  He is the author of multiple biographies in addition to this study of the form. I am counting this book toward the Canadian Reading Challenge.

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