By Lloyd E. Ambrosius
The historian as biographer needs to unravel questions that replicate the twin problem of telling background and telling lives: How does the biographer tackle the individual’s position in the greater ancient context? How do biographical stories relate to other kinds of heritage? may still historians use varied ways to biography, reckoning on the cultures in their matters? What are definitely the right basic assets and methods that students should still use in writing biographies of their respective fields? In Writing Biography , six widespread historians handle those concerns and ponder their different reviews and divergent views as biographers. Shirley A. Leckie examines the mental and private connections among biographer and topic; R. Keith Schoppa considers the pervasive influence of tradition at the reputation of individuality and the presentation of a lifestyles; Retha M. Warnicke explores prior context and sleek cultural biases in writing the biographies of Tudor girls; John Milton Cooper Jr. discusses the demanding situations of writing glossy biographies and the interaction of the biographer’s personal reports; Nell Irvin Painter seems to be on the means of reconstructing a lifestyles while written files are scant; and Robert J. Richards investigates the intimate courting among existence reports and new rules. regardless of their vast variety of views, all six students agree on crucial issues: biography and old research are inextricably associated, and biographical experiences supply a big software for examining old questions. (10/24/2005)
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Extra resources for Writing Biography: Historians and Their Craft
12 China was one culture that did not have a conception of adolescence as a separate life stage. In Confucianism “adulthood” was thought to be made up of three “equally signiﬁcant periods of human life” or three “integral aspects” or three “inseparable dimensions” youth, manhood, and old age. ” 13 In Book 2 of the Analects, Confucius reportedly described the ages of man: At ﬁfteen I set my heart on learning. At thirty I was ﬁrmly established. At forty I had no more doubts. At ﬁfty I knew the will of Heaven.
The temptation is to follow the lead of contemporaries trying to deal with that biographical subject: “In the great complexity of revolutionary change, the human mind brings order by naming and holding to that name as the key to the identity of the other. ” 19 Thus, as Shen’s identity was continuing to shift amid the twists and turns of revolution, other Chinese, already valuing the noun over the verb, pegged Shen in certain ways landlord, elite leader, rent-resistance agitator, Western Hills reactionary many names having sinister overtones, depending on the political viewpoint.
51. Lerner, Why History Matters, 200. 52. As renowned scholars gathered at the Wellesley College forum, “The Future of History,” in April 2000, they heard warnings of a discipline that “is in danger of becoming too fragmented to be meaningful to students and too obscure to have much impact outside academe,” according to Elizabeth Greene, “Plotting a Future for History,” Chronicle of Higher Education, 28 April 2000, Section A, 18. See also David Oshinsky, “The Humpty Dumpty of Scholarship,” New York Times, 26 August 2000, Section A, 17, 19.