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p. 11. The Biography Channellocked

  • Hermione Lee


Can we agree a definition of biography? ‘The Biography Channel’ examines the difficulty of defining a neat, single meaning for biography. Two metaphors offer different perspectives on biographical writing — the autopsy and the portrait. One provides a forensic dissection of the life and character of the subject, the other suggests warmth and sympathy. A working definition is offered: biography is the story of a person told by someone else. There are inevitably exceptions to this and ten rules for biography are proposed, not the least of which is, there are no rules for biography.

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