Show Summary Details

p. 192. Exemplary Liveslocked

  • Hermione Lee

Abstract

‘Exemplary Lives’ traces the history of western biography from its beginnings in antiquity to Aubrey's Brief Lives in the seventeenth-century England. The snippets of the lives of famous figures such as Moses, Alexander, and Socrates provide the primal form of a genre that had not yet evolved. Western biography has its origins in the accounts of the lives of great men from classical antiquity. Plutarch's Lives brought long-past persons to life and there is a moral purpose to his writing. Very different is the other strand of biographical writing — the lives of the saints or hagiography, the dominant literary genre from Late Antiquity to the end of the Middle Ages.

Access to the complete content on Very Short Introductions online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.