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Biography and History (review)

Biography and History (review) Reviews 329 understandably makes a few assumptions that struck me; she would fi nd in the studies by Booth and Oldfi eld (cited in her footnote) a contradiction of her claim that more collective biographies of women were written by women than by men (149). What she discovers in monographs would be confi rmed and amplifi ed in collective biographies and periodical articles representing noble failures, great deeds of ordinary people, or negative examples. Atkinson provides a sound basis for further studies to trace such patterns across a large corpus of biographies. I particularly appreciated her insights not only into the autobiographical aims of biographers—a well-known phe- nomenon—but also into the tendency of biographers to behave as protectors and patrons of their subjects. In passing as well, she illuminates an underly- ing connection between biography and tourism, and a correlation between the structure of failed lives and the plot of tragedy. A study of genre based on close analysis of texts and their critical reception necessarily devotes less space to exposition of historical developments. At times Atkinson’s discussion collapses the very different conditions across decades of the nineteenth cen- tury, as in an unmentioned gap between two sections, between http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Biography and History (review)

Biography , Volume 34 (2) – Nov 23, 2011

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © Biographical Research Center
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

Reviews 329 understandably makes a few assumptions that struck me; she would fi nd in the studies by Booth and Oldfi eld (cited in her footnote) a contradiction of her claim that more collective biographies of women were written by women than by men (149). What she discovers in monographs would be confi rmed and amplifi ed in collective biographies and periodical articles representing noble failures, great deeds of ordinary people, or negative examples. Atkinson provides a sound basis for further studies to trace such patterns across a large corpus of biographies. I particularly appreciated her insights not only into the autobiographical aims of biographers—a well-known phe- nomenon—but also into the tendency of biographers to behave as protectors and patrons of their subjects. In passing as well, she illuminates an underly- ing connection between biography and tourism, and a correlation between the structure of failed lives and the plot of tragedy. A study of genre based on close analysis of texts and their critical reception necessarily devotes less space to exposition of historical developments. At times Atkinson’s discussion collapses the very different conditions across decades of the nineteenth cen- tury, as in an unmentioned gap between two sections, between

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 23, 2011

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