Will the real subject please stand up? Autobiographical voices in biography

Journal article


Lamb, Karen. (2021). Will the real subject please stand up? Autobiographical voices in biography. Life Writing. 18(1), pp. 25-30. https://doi.org/10.1080/14484528.2019.1672615
AuthorsLamb, Karen
Abstract

Biographers exist in a tight partnership with their chosen subject and there is often during the research and writing an equivalent reflective personal journey for the biographer. This is generally obscured, buried among an overwhelming magnitude of sources while the biographer is simultaneously developing the all-important ‘relationship’ required to sustain the narrative journey ahead. Questions and selections beset the biographer, usually about access to, or veracity of, sources but perhaps there are more personal questions that could be put to the biographer. The many works on the craft of biography or collections about the life-writing journey tell only some of this tale. It is not often enough, however, that we acknowledge how biography can be unusually ‘double-voiced’ in communicating a strong sense of the teller in the tale: the biographer’s own life experience usually does lead them to the biography, but also influences the shaping of the work. These are still ‘tales of craft’ in one sense, but autobiographical reflections in another. Perhaps this very personal insight can only be attempted in the ‘afterlife’ of biography; the quiet moments and years that follow such consuming works. In this article, I reflect on this unusually emotional form of life writing.

Keywordsbiography; autobiography; thea astley; Australian literature
Year2021
JournalLife Writing
Journal citation18 (1), pp. 25-30
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1751-2964
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/14484528.2019.1672615
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85074525797
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range25-30
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 Oct 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited21 Dec 2021
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