Biography, vol. 22, no. 1 (1999): Festschrift for George Simson

Biography 22.1 cover imageSpecial Issue: Festschrift for George Simson

Editors’ Note: Essays in Honor of George Simson, p. iii


What I Know of George Simson: Scrappy Notes for a Distant Biography of the Founder of Biography, p. 1
Gabriel Merle

Through retracing the history of a relationship which began by a community of interests quickly developing into friendship, the author outlines the portrait of a man of strong convictions, who, he feels, has always been, as a private person, a scholar, and a citizen, a faithful servant to truth, freedom, and justice.

Keynes and the Bloomsbury Group, p. 16
Noel Annan

John Maynard Keynes was a central figure in the Bloomsbury Group, but both the Strachey clan and the Stephen sisters (Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf) had reservations about him. They feared that his success in life as a public figure had caused him to betray the ideals of the Group. Noel Annan considers whether this was so.

Carrington and Strachey, p. 32
Michael Holroyd

Michael Holroyd revisits the world of Bloomsbury and investigates the complex relationship between Lytton Strachey and the painter Dora Carrington. He concludes that Strachey’s life was at one with his writings, and that both illustrate a moral reaction from the sexual repression that had flourished in late Victorian Britain when Strachey was growing up.

Autobiography, p. 46
Edward Seidensticker

The essay chiefly explores difficulties in writing autobiography and relations between autobiography and other autobiographic forms, such as diary, memoir, and autobiographic fiction, as well as differences between autobiography and biography. It also remarks upon different kinds of autobiography.

Gandhi as Leader: A Plutarchan Perspective, p. 57
Glenn D. Paige

This paper explores the criteria used for judging leaders by asking how Plutarch might have evaluated Gandhi. In particular, the author addresses the extension of categories developed for a martial or violence-accepting society to a nonviolent leader.

Writing George Eliot’s Biography, p. 75
Frederick R. Karl

Even in writing about a traditional subject like George Eliot, the biographer must seek innovative ways of presenting her. Such innovations include an entire array of contents: cultural, personal, historical, critical, psychological. The biographer here decided that a psychological approach, while eschewing all narrowing systems, was the preferable way to integrate Eliot’s life and work.

Babar and the Mission Civilisatrice: Colonialism and the Biography of a Mythical Elephant, p. 86
Stephen O’Harrow

Illustrated in a series of events in the fictional early life of the “King of the Elephants,” author Jean de Brunhoff (1899-1937) created Babar, a multifarious character, facets of which have charmed juvenile as well as adult readers, both in French and in foreign translation, for several generations. The humanity and bourgeois domesticity of de Brunhoff’s pachydermal universe, however, mask a basically colonialist perception of the world, one which accurately reflected the de Brunhoff’s social milieu, the zeitgeist in the first third of the twentieth century, and Republican France’s complex attitudes towards being a colonial power.

A Multicultural Global Culture: Not a Question of When, But How, p. 104
Johan Galtung

The paper compares multilingual and multicultural competence and identifies a number of similarities. One of them is the capacity of children to learn languages and cultures, provided the competence comes from significant others like friends rather than through a formal school system. Two parents may well raise their children in two languages and two cultures, but one parent is advised not to switch. The author’s own family biography, and Hawai’i, are used as examples. Better passive knowledge of other languages and cultures than none at all; and general softening of cultures is more peace productive than one global culture.

George Simson: A Grateful Summary, p. 113
Anthony M. Friedson


True Relations: Essays on Autobiography and the Postmodern, edited by G. Thomas Couser and Joseph Fichtelberg, p. 115
Gerald Peters

Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory, by Marianne Hirsch, p. 118
Patrick Maynard

Shadrach Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen, by Gary L. Collison; and The Trials of Anthony Burns: Freedom and Slavery in Emerson’s Boston, by Albert J. Von Frank, p. 121
Ian Finseth

Secret Selves: Confession and Same-Sex Desire in Victorian Autobiography, by Oliver S. Buckton, p. 129
Clinton Machann

Les Brouillons de soi, by Philippe Lejeune, p. 132
Carol L. Kaplan

L’Autobiographie en proces, by Philippe Lejeune, p. 137
Gerald Prince

Excerpts from recent reviews of biographies, autobiographies, and other works of interest

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