Biography, vol. 26, no. 2 (2003)

Biography 26.2 cover imageEditor’s Note, p. iii


G. Thomas Couser
Identity, Identicality, and Life Writing: Telling (The Silent) Twins Apart, p. 243

Identical twins challenge the Western valorization of the individual, and thus the major life-writing genres, autobiography and biography. The intense bond between Jennifer and June Gibbons, and their elective mutism, made their biography an unlikely project, but their obsessive journal-writing documented their lives in great detail. Marjorie Wallace’s The Silent Twins demonstrates—and surmounts—the difficulty of representing identical twins.

Joseph Phelan
Ethnology and Biography: The Case of the Brownings, p. 261

The poets Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning have been subjected to a good deal of speculation about their ethnic origins. In tracing the history of this speculation, this article attempts to highlight some of the potential difficulties associated with a renewed attention to genealogy and ethnicity in contemporary biographical writing.

Carolyn Wells Kraus
On Hurting People’s Feelings: Journalism, Guilt, and Autobiography, p. 283

Based on the author’s experience, with reference to the work of John McPhee, Truman Capote, Joan Didion, and others, this essay examines the hidden role of autobiography in narrative nonfiction, and the ethical concerns we raise when we tell our own stories in the guise of telling the stories of others.


Reading Autobiography: A Guide for Interpreting Life Narratives, by Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson, p. 298
Reviewed by Richard Freadman

Écriture de soi: secrets et réticences, edited by Bertrand Degott and Marie Miguet-Ollagnier, p. 306
Reviewed by Alison Rice

Self-Same Songs: Autobiographical Performances and Reflections, by Roger J. Porter, p. 312
Reviewed by Regenia Gagnier

Rethinking Home: A Case for Writing Local History, by Joseph A. Amato, p. 315
Reviewed by Janet Ore

The Poets’ Jesus: Representation at the End of the Millennium, by Peggy Rosenthal, p. 317
Reviewed by Gerard Loughlin

Designing the Life of Johnson, by Bruce Redford, p. 319
Reviewed by Charles H. Hinnant

After Franklin: The Emergence of Autobiography in Post-Revolutionary America, by Stephen Carl Arch, p. 323
Reviewed by Barbara Oberg

Abigail Adams: A Writing Life, by Edith B. Gelles, p. 326
Reviewed by Angelo T. Angelis

Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory, and the American Civil War, by David W. Blight, p. 329
Reviewed by Thomas J. Rowland

Writing the Siege of Leningrad: Women’s Diaries, Memories and Documentary Prose, by Cynthia Simmons and Nina Perlina, p. 331
Reviewed by Greta Bucher

Eat My Words: Reading Women’s Lives through the Cookbooks They Wrote, by Janet Theophano, p. 333
Reviewed by Anne L. Bower

Translating One’s Self:Language and Selfhood in Cross-Cultural Autobiography, by Mary Besemeres, p. 337
Reviewed by Jadwiga Maszewska

Caribbean Autobiography: Cultural Identity and Self-Representation, by Sandra Pouchet Paquet, p. 340
Reviewed by Ángel A. Rivera

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

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