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Mapping Lives: The Uses of Biography (review)

Mapping Lives: The Uses of Biography (review) 09-Reviews (597-679) 10/5/04 12:13 PM Page 597 REVIEWS Peter France and William St. Clair, eds. Mapping Lives: The Uses of Biogra- phy. Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2002. 335 pp. + index. ISBN 0-19-726269-4, $49.95. This volume in the British Academy Centenary Monographs series offers eighteen essays by as many contributors. As the following summaries may suggest, seven or eight of the essays are first-rate, a half dozen are readable but unstimulating, and a few seem confused or restate the obvious. Among the highlights are two learned, informative studies of early biog- raphical traditions. In “From Biography to Hagiography,” Sergei S. Averin- tsev clarifies the meaning of biographia, hagiographa, and other key terms in classical life writing, and takes up the old question of whether the Gospels can be considered part of Hellenistic biography (no). Martin McLaughlin memorably surveys “Biography and Autobiography in the Italian Renais- sance,” focusing on the emergence during the period of secular biographies written in the vernacular. Although most of the essays in Mapping Lives concern British biograph- ical writing, several contributors revealingly treat European works. In “From Eulogy to Biography: The French Academic Eloge,” Peter France describes the evolution of this funeral-oration-like French http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Mapping Lives: The Uses of Biography (review)

Biography , Volume 27 (3) – Nov 22, 2004

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2004 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

09-Reviews (597-679) 10/5/04 12:13 PM Page 597 REVIEWS Peter France and William St. Clair, eds. Mapping Lives: The Uses of Biogra- phy. Oxford and New York: Oxford UP, 2002. 335 pp. + index. ISBN 0-19-726269-4, $49.95. This volume in the British Academy Centenary Monographs series offers eighteen essays by as many contributors. As the following summaries may suggest, seven or eight of the essays are first-rate, a half dozen are readable but unstimulating, and a few seem confused or restate the obvious. Among the highlights are two learned, informative studies of early biog- raphical traditions. In “From Biography to Hagiography,” Sergei S. Averin- tsev clarifies the meaning of biographia, hagiographa, and other key terms in classical life writing, and takes up the old question of whether the Gospels can be considered part of Hellenistic biography (no). Martin McLaughlin memorably surveys “Biography and Autobiography in the Italian Renais- sance,” focusing on the emergence during the period of secular biographies written in the vernacular. Although most of the essays in Mapping Lives concern British biograph- ical writing, several contributors revealingly treat European works. In “From Eulogy to Biography: The French Academic Eloge,” Peter France describes the evolution of this funeral-oration-like French

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Nov 22, 2004

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