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The Solace of Doubt? Biographical Methodology after the Short Twentieth Century

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores some of the trends that have emerged in biography publications in the twentieth century, with emphasis on the past decades. Less of an influence on biographical method than Lytton Strachey in the short term, Virginia Woolf would nonetheless be adopted by feminist biographers sixty years later as the foundational twentieth-century modernist theorist of biography. The issue of how to write biography after the short twentieth century has been especially to the fore in women's Life Writing. Some of the more recent challengers of the empathetic tradition have been feminist biographers. Working biographers continue to provide the best critical commentary on Life Writing, and it is no longer in conferences, journal articles, anthologies or essays, but in the self-reflexive prose of contemporary biography that the most interesting writing about writing biography is to be found.

Keywords: anthologies; biographical methodology; contemporary biography; feminist biographers; Life Writing; Lytton Strachey; short twentieth century; Virginia Woolf



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