Woolf’s essay about biography is prescient and ever so slightly patronising.
Thus the biographer must go ahead of the rest of us, like the miner’s canary, testing the atmosphere, detecting falsity, unreality, and the presence of obsolete conventions. His sense of truth must he alive and on tiptoe. Then again, since we live in an age when a thousand cameras are pointed, by newspapers, letters, and diaries, at every character from every angle, he must be prepared to admit contradictory versions of the same face.
Definitely worth reading (and it’s blessedly short).
You can find a copy of Woolf’s essay online, here.
Photo sourced from Wikimedia Commons
I have printed it out and will read it. Biography is a fascinating form to think about, and I enjoy reading the thoughts of others on it.
Reading about biography as a form is one of life’s great pleasures and I have more than my fair share of books about biography on my shelves. You’ve given me an idea for a future post – thanks!
I love it when a commenter provides an idea for another post. Glad to be of service … and I look forward to the post.