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biography

Subject: Literature

A narrative history of the life of some person; or the practice of writing such works. Most biographies provide an account of the life of a notable individual from birth to death, or in ...

biography

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World Encyclopedia

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Encyclopedias
Length:
68 words

... Literary form that describes the events of a person's life. The first known biographies were Lives by Plutarch in the 1st century ad . In English literature the first biographies appeared in the 17th century, notably Lives ( 1640–70 ) by Izaak Walton and Lives of Eminent Men ( 1813 ) by John Aubrey . The first ‘modern’ biography was the Life of Samuel Johnson ( 1791 ) by James Boswell . See also ...

biography

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... A narrative history of the life of some person; or the practice of writing such works. Most biographies provide an account of the life of a notable individual from birth to death, or in the case of living persons from birth to the time of writing; but some treat the connected lives of paired subjects or of groups (known as ‘group biography’); and since the late 20th century the term has been stretched to cover accounts of non-human subjects such as houses, cities, or commodities, in which case ‘a biography’ really means an intimate or gossipy history....

Biography

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The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
History, Early history (500 CE to 1500)
Length:
377 words

... , a literary genre created in antiquity that flourished during the Roman Empire. It was considered an intermediate form lying somewhere between enkomion and historiography and having as its purpose the presentation of the hero's character ( ethos ) and/or actions ( praxeis ) in logical rather than chronological sequence. The material was presented in anecdotes, maxims (sayings), catalogs of works, etc. Biographies were often combined in series, as by Plutarch . Late Roman biography included emperors ( Historia Augusta ), philosophers ( Diogenes...

Biography

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The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
366 words

...even in the 19th c. great biographies are few in number; they might include Chateaubriand 's very personal Vie de Rancé and—in a different vein— Renan 's Vie de Jésus , or the monumental group biography in the Port‐Royal of Sainte‐Beuve , who established biography as an essential part of literary criticism. In the 20th c. popular biographies have been written, for instance, by Maurois , Troyat , and Rolland , and Jean Lacouture has produced important lives of Malraux and de Gaulle , but the most remarkable biographies remain Sartre 's...

biography

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A Dictionary of Sports Studies

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Social sciences, Society and culture
Length:
148 words

... The life course of a living being, as a literary genre documented in written form by another person. The biography of the individual athlete can reveal much about the social conditions of the time and the cultural significance of sport in the wider culture, as well as the psychological dimensions of sporting competition and achievement. It can provide a form of case study valuable in the analysis of the meaning of sport, though some biographies of people in the world of sport can be little more than hagiography, the celebratory rendition of the...

Biography

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The Oxford Companion to Italian Literature

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
596 words

...individual life. But biographies were still written for specific audiences and could easily fall into panegyric, as was often the case with the biographies of popes. Classical models also could also entice biographers away from historical fact. Machiavelli 's Vita di Castruccio Castracani ( 1520 ), for instance, owes more to the writer's adherence to the conventions of heroic biography than to historical record. A similar type of biographical writing flourished in the 19th c. In the years following Unification approving biographies of Garibaldi , ...

Biography

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The Oxford Companion to Women's Writing in the United States

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
2,952 words

... . Through literate history, people have written, or told, biographies. The lives of real people have always been more interesting than stories about fictional characters; we can temporarily believe in the exploits of imaginary human beings, but biography wears better. From the time of the 1579 translations of Plutarch's Parallel Lives , through Izaak Walton's Life of John Donne ( 1640 ) and, in this country, Cotton Mather 's Magnalia Christi Americana , his 1702 biographies of New England worthies, readers have found biography a means to both...

biography

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An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009

... . ‘We talked of biography’, James *Boswell noted of a meeting between Samuel *Johnson , Thomas *Warton , and himself in 1776 . Johnson considered that biography should instruct, delight, and impart ‘real character’. Writing that conversation would reveal more of a man's character than ‘formal and studied narrative, begun with his pedigree, and ended with his funeral’, Johnson questioned the polite eighteenth-century art of the Biographia Britannica: or, the Lives of the Most Eminent Persons . When Boswell published his Life of Johnson ( 1791 ),...

Biography

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The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Classical studies, History
Length:
1,584 words

... Biography emerges from a natural interest in persons that predates any formulation of a genre. The Odyssey focused on a single individual, characters inhabited histories, and encomiums praised important men before “lives,” as they were called, were recognized as a literary type of their own. The boundaries of biography always remained blurred in antiquity because human beings would continue to be depicted in other genres, and biography never became as structured and subject to rules of composition as epic in poetry or declamatory rhetoric in prose....

Biography;

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The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005

...; modern biography begins with James Boswell's comprehensive attention to his subject's character and habits in The Life of Samuel Johnson ( 1791 ), which bears out his preface's claim that ‘I profess to write not his panegyrick, … but his life’. Throughout the Victorian era, however, biography was largely given over to memorializing the great and good as examples of the link between virtue and achievement, an ethos culminating in the foundation of the Dictionary of National Biography in 1882 . Reaction against the conventions of...

biography

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The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature
Length:
1,564 words

...Nelson, Jenny Uglow 's life of Hogarth , and her ‘group biography’ The Lunar Men ( 2002 ). Recent biographies have also uncovered the lives of less eminent figures, answering Woolf's call for ‘lives of the obscure’. Biographies of women have been particularly prolific, and women are now far better represented in the magisterial Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , founded by Colin Matthew in 1992 and continuing the work of Leslie Stephen , who launched the Dictionary of National Biography in 26 volumes between 1885 and 1890 . Contemporary biographers...

Biography

Biography   Reference library

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Children's Literature

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2006
Subject:
Literature, Children's literature studies
Length:
1,628 words

...changes in the approach to biography for young people. While works such as Lytton Strachey 's Eminent Victorians ( 1918 ) had resulted in a reconsideration of the near hagiography of adult biographies, this direction made its way only slowly into children's literature, with its biographies tending to be entirely appreciative and occasionally fictional by commission as well as omission. Titles such as Jean Latham 's Newbery- winning Carry On, Mr. Bowditch ( 1956 ) take an approach that has been called “fictionalized biography”; the book includes fictional...

Biography

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The Oxford Companion to Australian History

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
1,603 words

...Laureate of the Centaurs (1888) . Biography at this time was principally a branch of literature, though historians such as James Bonwick also exploited it. The appearance between 1879 and 1892 of the biographical dictionaries of J. H. Heaton , David Blair , and Philip Mennell met a growing interest in biography as a public record. The first generation of academic historians employed biography as a key device in their creation of a national history. For G. A. Wood , Ernest Scott , and G. C. Henderson , biography humanised an otherwise austere...

Biography

Biography   Reference library

Encyclopedia of the Enlightenment

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945)
Length:
2,485 words

...N.J., 2000. Chap. 5 focuses on biography, but the book as a whole is useful in seeing biography in the context of related genres such as political history and the novel. Stauffer, Donald A. The Art of Biography in Eighteenth-Century England . Princeton, N.J., 1941. A magisterial work, still the most comprehensive treatment of its topic; a second volume, The Art of Biography in Eighteenth-Century England: Bibliographical Supplement (Princeton, N.J., 1941), contains an alphabetical index of English-language biographies and autobiographies, 1700–1800....

biography

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The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Literature
Length:
1,139 words

... Jenny Uglow 's life of Hogarth , and her ‘group biography’ The Lunar Men ( 2002 ). Recent biographies have also heeded Woolf's call for ‘lives of the obscure’. Women are now far better represented in the magisterial Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , continuing the work of Leslie Stephen , who launched the Dictionary of National Biography ( 1885–1890 ). Early theoretical explorations of biography as a form were Woolf's lively essays on ‘The New Biography’ ( 1927 ) and ‘The Art of Biography’ ( 1939 ). Robert Gittings , biographer of Keats and...

Biography

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Denise Von Glahn

The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Music, Social sciences, Regional and Area Studies
Length:
2,730 words

...traveling piano virtuosos and the importance of the instrument in domestic music-making, it comes as no surprise that the first free-standing biography of an African American musician is about the slave/pianist “Blind Tom” ( Thomas Green Bethune ), who was the subject of a booklet-length biography written in 1868 titled The Marvelous Musical Prodigy, Blind Tom, the Negro Boy . Beginning in the late 1930s biographies of African American jazz musicians began to appear with Louis Armstrong being among the first subjects treated in multiple studies. Although...

biography

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The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
409 words

...practitioner, claims that Britain ‘oozes biography , to the incomprehension and amusement of the world’. The hagiographical style persisted beyond the 18 th century with lives of popular preachers and intrepid missionaries. It overlapped somewhat with the ‘two-volume tombstone’ of life and letters, which immortalized so many prominent (but often insignificant) figures of the 19 th century, and has now been succeeded by lives of ephemeral celebrities. *Press runs of the latter are often enormous, for biographies now outsell all other publishing categories...

biography

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The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011
Subject:
Literature, Classical studies
Length:
1,025 words

... Biography is not a rigidly defined literary genre in the ancient world. Greek. The term bios (Gk. ‘life’ in the sense of biography, ‘a written life’) covered, as in modern times, works of varying length and seriousness, and different degrees of sensationalism, truth, and bias. Greek origins may be seen in (sung) dirges and (spoken) funeral orations commemorating the dead, but their contents are formal and do not extend to much if any detail about the lives of the deceased until about the fourth century bc . In the fifth century bc Ion of Chios...

Biography

Biography (1932)   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to American Theatre (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
242 words

... ( 1932 ) , a comedy by S. N. Behrman . [Guild Theatre, 267 perf.] Marion Froude (Ina Claire ) is a celebrated artist who has had many lovers all over the world but no husbands. One of her earliest loves, Leander Nolan ( Jay Fassett ), now a successful lawyer and running for Senator, comes to have his portrait painted. At the same time, Richard Kurt (Earle Larimore ), a radical young editor, appears with an offer to publish Marion's autobiography. Although at first she finds Kurt “bumptious and insufferable,” she quickly develops a fondness for him...

Biography

Biography   Reference library

Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations (5 ed.)

Reference type:
Quotation
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Quotations
Length:
406 words

... Biography Biography see also autobiography Biography should be written by an acute enemy. Arthur James Balfour 1848 – 1930 British Conservative statesman : in Observer 30 January 1927 biography should be written acute enemy The Art of Biography Is different from Geography. Geography is about Maps, But Biography is about Chaps. Edmund Clerihew Bentley 1875 – 1956 English writer : Biography for Beginners (1905) introduction geography is about Maps Geography is about maps biography is about chaps Biography is about chaps...

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