Biography, vol. 30, no. 2 (2007)

Biography 30.2 cover imageEditors’ Note, p. iii


Susan Bruce
Sherston’s Imaginary Friend: Siegfried Sassoon’s Autobiographical Prose and the Idea of Photography, p. 173
In this essay, I take Siegfried Sassoon’s prose works as exemplary of a construction of selfhood peculiar to what I call “narratives of hindsight”: mid-twentieth-century narratives whose first person narrator is constructed out of two selves—an older self who writes, and a younger whose experience he or she relates—whose dual perspectives overlay and mediate each other, neither ever dominating or achieving authoritative veracity with respect to the other. I argue that this familiar (but historically specific) construction of selfhood-in-time is enabled by, and contingent upon, the rise of photography, whose advent ushers in new ways of relating to our pasts, and to our past selves.More generally, insofar as Sassoon is concerned, I illustrate broader ways in which his compulsive reiteration of his past is mediated through an imagination and a memory which is ineluctably photographic, and I try to show the ways in which his “autobiographies,” both “real” and “fictionalized,” are indebted, in general and in particular ways, to early photographic images.

Udi E. Greenberg
Remembering Walter Benjamin: Benjamin and His Biographers, p. 194
Having long ago emerged from years of obscurity, Walter Benjamin functions today as an icon not only among an academic audience, but also in many products of popular culture. Through the examination of three key biographies, this study traces the different meanings given to Benjamin’s life from the 1970s until today.


Theatre and AutoBiography: Writing and Performing Lives in Theory and Practice, edited by Sherrill Grace and Jerry Wasserman, p. 213
Reviewed by Ryan Claycomb

Musical Biography: Towards New Paradigms, edited by Jolanta T. Pekacz, p. 215
Reviewed by Christopher Wiley

Loving Dr. Johnson, by Helen Deutsch, p. 220
Reviewed by Paul Tankard

Traveling Women: Narrative Visions of Early America, by Susan Clair Imbarrato, p. 224
Reviewed by Catherine Allgor

The Ethics of Working Class Autobiography:Representation of Family by Four American Authors, by Elizabeth Bidinger, p. 227
Reviewed by Michelle M. Tokarczyk

The Era of the Witness, by Annette Wieviorka, p. 230
Reviewed by Catherine Hobbs

From Split to Screened Selves: French and Francophone Autobiography in the Third Person, by Rachel Gabara, p. 234
Reviewed by Kirsty Ball

C’était Marguerite Duras, 1914–1945, by Jean Vallier, p. 238
Reviewed by Cécile Hanania

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