Adventures of an unromantic biographer
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Reason for embargo
This Reflection investigates some of the questions that arise when one attempts to ‘write lives together’. What are the intellectual and theoretical implications of this mode of biographical writing? What might be its seductions? What are its creative possibilities? It considers the place of invisible figures in group biography, and argues that the genre enables the recovery of these figures in particularly productive ways. It does so because its focus rests not on individuals but on the interstices between them. Two women receive particular attention. The first is Elizabeth Kent, the sister-in-law of the radical Romantic journalist Leigh Hunt. The second is Virginia Edgar, a friend and correspondent of Mary Anne Disraeli. The Reflection explores what happens to the versions of the past we construct when such figures disappear from dominant cultural narratives, how group biography enables their recovery, and the theoretical pitfalls inherent in returning them to the foreground. Through a sustained focus on creative experience it suggests a way of deploying the possibilities of group biography in an act of resistance towards posthumous and anachronistic constructions of significance, and argues that such resistance has the potential to be creatively liberating.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 14, pp. 247 - 256