Catalogue


Modernizing lives : experiments in English biography, 1918-1939 /
Ruth Hoberman ; foreword by A.O.J. Cockshut.
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1987.
description
xiv, 235 p.
ISBN
0809312883
format(s)
Book
Holdings
Subjects
geographic term
More Details
imprint
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, c1987.
isbn
0809312883
general note
Includes index.
catalogue key
944590
 
Bibliography: p. 215-228.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1987-04:
It is significant that the foreword to Hoberman's book was written by A.O.J. Cockshut (Truth to Life; The Art of Biography in the Nineteenth Century, CH, Feb '75). Both authors have a similar perspective. In studying the early-20th-century authors, Hoberman seems to continue the course set by Cockshut. Previous studies, as Hoberman states, have ``tended to be either all inclusive historical overviews or anecdotal discussions of problems faced by the biographer.'' While that situation has largely been remedied of late, her work is a significant contribution to the textual study of biographies. The works of such writers as Strachey, Lubbock, Symons, James, Woolf, Forester, and Nicolson, among others, broke new ground: breaking from the practice of compiling and recording volumes of facts, they incorporated the author's perceptions, interpretations, and concepts of shaping, often using what Percy Lubbock termed the ``indirect method'' of narration (The Craft of Fiction, 1921). Above all, they sought to define the hitherto-regarded ``indefinable self.'' In arranging the parts of her study, the author takes advantage of Walter Pater's classification. The works are either novelistic, mediative, or sociobiographical; but apart from this, each has a distinction of its own. Hoberman's work is well written, adequately illustrated with significant quotations from the texts study, and the argument is well handled. Recommended for graduate and undergraduate libraries.-D. Kolker, Cleveland State University
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This item was reviewed in:
Choice, April 1987
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Summaries
Main Description
Eight distinguished English writersLytton Strachey, Geoffrey Scott, David Cecil, Percy Lubbock, A. J. A. Symons, Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, and Harold Nicolsonall wrote biographies of great influence. Hoberman suggests that it is time to re-examine these people and their contribution to biography. The biographers featured in this study were vastly different writers writing about people as diverse as Queen Elizabeth and Roger Fry, but they shared a common concern: "the reshaping of traditional biography into a more flexible, more artful form, able to accommodate modern ideas of self, of time, and of narration." These lives, written between the wars, no longer have the "serious," "joyless," "depressing similarity" that Virginia Woolf com­plained about in Victorian biographies. Between the wars a number of discoveries, gener­al currents, personalities, and theories made tradi­tional biography seem inadequate. No longer was the compilation of letters and autobiographical frag­ments enough. Childhood became important, as did the unconscious, unwilled element in character. So­cial forces became paramount.
Main Description
Eight distinguished English writers--Lytton Strachey, Geoffrey Scott, David Cecil, Percy Lubbock, A. J. A. Symons, Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, and Harold Nicolson--all wrote biographies of great influence. Hoberman suggests that it is time to re-examine these people and their contribution to biography. The biographers featured in this study were vastly different writers writing about people as diverse as Queen Elizabeth and Roger Fry, but they shared a common concern: "the reshaping of traditional biography into a more flexible, more artful form, able to accommodate modern ideas of self, of time, and of narration." These lives, written between the wars, no longer have the "serious," "joyless," "depressing similarity" that Virginia Woolf com plained about in Victorian biographies. Between the wars a number of discoveries, gener al currents, personalities, and theories made tradi tional biography seem inadequate. No longer was the compilation of letters and autobiographical frag ments enough. Childhood became important, as did the unconscious, unwilled element in character. So cial forces became paramount.
Table of Contents
Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
The Revolt Against Victorianismp. 21
Weaving the Self Novelistic Biographyp. 58
p. 100
Feminism and Biography Orlando and Flush Virginia Woolf's "Jokes"p. 133
Unweaving the Self Psycho- and Sociobiographyp. 161
Conclusionp. 198
Notesp. 207
Indexp. 229
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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