Cora Kaplan

in Victoriana - Histories, Fictions, Criticism

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780748611478
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651627 | DOI:

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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This chapter studies the currently rising profile of Victorian literary biography. It takes a look at how life writing removed the writer's privilege to be an important witness to the significance and sense of his work, and how it can also be seen as a new way of thinking about history, subjectivity, and agency. The chapter then focuses on biography, which has been described by Samuel Johnson as producing the ‘act of imagination’, which allows readers to feel the ‘joy or sorrow’ of others. It also discusses the transition of biography into fiction.

Keywords: literary biography; life writing; Samuel Johnson; act of imagination; fiction; biography

Chapter.  22243 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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