Biography, vol. 23, no. 2 (2000)

Editor’s Note, p. iii


Self-Writing, Literary Traditions, and Post-Emancipation Identity: The Case of Mary Seacole, p. 309
Evelyn J. Hawthorne

This study addresses the virtually unexplored topic of how first generation, free(d) Caribbean subjects constructed their identities from the conflictual heritages in the post-Emancipation period. Focusing on the nineteenth-century work The Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole in Many Lands, the author explores its meanings in the contexts of Victorian literary traditions, ideological discourses, and Caribbean history.

Biography and Historiography: The Case of David Ben-Gurion, p. 332
Michael Keren

Because the history of the Jewish people in the modern era often takes the form of life writing by or about David Ben-Gurion, changes in Israeli historiography can be tracked by observing changes in the biographical literature on Ben-Gurion. In outlining those transformations, this article provides a conceptual framework and typology for analyzing the relationship between biographical and historiographical change, and examines biography’s role in a society’s evolving self-consciousness about its history.

“The Bright Bone of a Dream”: Drama, Performativity, Ritual, and Community in Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family, p. 352
S. Leigh Matthews

In a reading of Michael Ondaatje’s Running in the Family (1982) which stresses the communal identity of the autobiographical subject, this essay makes a connection between the function of life writing in modern society and that of ritual in primitive societies. The memoir form in particular is thus viewed as a tool used by marginalized individuals to achieve a public performance–a public rite of passage–as a means to reintegrate the self within communal origins and to provide critical reflection on limited Western concepts of subjectivity and historiography.


Momentous Events, Vivid Memories, by David Pillemer, p. 372
Reviewed by Kathryn A. Becker and Jennifer J. Freyd

Gendered Voices: Medieval Saints and Their Interpreters, edited by Catherine M. Mooney, p. 375
Reviewed by Brigitte Cazelles

Simone de Beauvoir Writing the Self: Philosophy Becomes Autobiography, by Jo-Ann Pilardi, p. 379
Reviewed by Barbara Klaw

Lives of Their Own: Rhetorical Dimensions in Autobiographies of Women Activists, by Martha Watson, p. 384
Reviewed by Wendy S. Hesford

Spectacular Confessions: Autobiography, Performative Activism, and the Sites of Suffrage, 1905-1938, by Barbara Green, p. 389
Reviewed by Ann D. Gordon

The Gentleman’s Daughter: Women’s Lives in Georgian England, by Amanda Vickery, p. 391
Reviewed by Linda V. Troost

To Live at the Center of the Moment: Literary Autobiographies of Aging, by Barbara Frey Waxman, p. 393
Reviewed by Teresa Mangum

Interpreting the Self: Two Hundred Years of American Autobiography, by Diane Bjorklund, p. 396
Reviewed by Katherine Adams

Elvis Culture: Fans, Faith & Image, by Erika Doss, p. 400
Reviewed by Lynda Goldstein

Race Men: The W. E. B. Du Bois Lectures, by Hazel V. Carby, p. 403
Reviewed by Daniel Boamah-Wiafe

African American Pioneers in Anthropology, edited by Ira E. Harrison and Faye V. Harrison, p. 407
Reviewed by B. C. Harrison

Biography and Education: A Reader, edited by Michael Erben, p. 415
Reviewed by Hephzibah Roskelly

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

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