Biography, vol. 32, no. 2 (2009)

Biography 32.2 coverEDITORS’ NOTE, iii


Protecting Life from Language: John Ruskin’s Museum as Autobiography
Hilary Edwards, 297

This essay argues that Ruskin’s Museum constitutes his first sustained attempt to represent his life story, and as such is a crucial precursor to his autobiography, Praeterita. The Museum project fails, but the failure is redemptive: it forces Ruskin to come to terms with the necessity of language for the presentation of memory, and in so doing helps make Praeterita possible.

Translating Generic Liberties: Orlando on Page and Screen
Floriane Reviron-Piégay, 316

In the 1920s, modernist art and philosophy shared cinema’s ambitious project to refashion representations of subjectivity and time. Virginia Woolf was able to foresee that, in terms of representation, the cinema offered advantages literature did not have. By exploring the link between the advent of the cinema and what Woolf called “The New Biography,” this article explores the convergence between film theory, of adaptation in particular, and the theory of the New Biography as Woolf conceived it. Because Orlando: A Biography can be considered a mise en abîme of this theory, and because it lies at the crossroads between Woolf’s interest in the new visual medium and her search for a new mode of expression, its cinematic adaptation by Sally Potter in 1992 provides a particularly revealing insight into the problems of translation from one medium to another. The cinematic language of Orlando and its modernism led
Potter to invent a new mode of adaptation as translation that is perhaps as challenging and innovative as Woolf’s original.


Confessions of an Autobiography Scholar; or, You Can’t Handle the Truthiness
Timothy Dow Adams, 340

This piece is an autobiographical summary of my relationship to truth and genre over a long career as a scholar of life writing. In what is meant to be humorous, I lament the entanglements of my scholarly and personal life and my ever shifting views on teaching and writing in contrast to living a life in autobiography.


Living Autobiographically: How We Create Identity in Narrative, by Paul John Eakin
Reviewed by David McCooey, 344

The Self in Moral Space: Life Narrative and the Good, by David Parker
Reviewed by Justine McGill, 348

Autobiography and Decolonization: Modernity, Masculinity, and the Nation-State, by Philip Holden
Reviewed by Ousmane Kane, 350

Iconos femeninos latinos e hispanoamericanos, edited by María Claudia André
Reviewed by Lucía Aranda, 352

Spaces of Belonging: Home, Culture and Identity in 20th Century French Autobiography, by Elizabeth H. Jones
Reviewed by Ralph Sarkonak, 355

Translating Lives: Living with Two Languages and Cultures, edited by Mary Besemeres and Anna Wierzbicka
Reviewed by Manuela Costantino, 357

Autoethnography as Method, by Heewon Chang
Reviewed by Carolyn Ellis, 360

Reconciliation Discourse: The Case of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, by Annelies Verdoolaege
Reviewed by Emily B. Rodio, 363

Harriet Tubman: Myth, Memory, and History, by Milton C. Sernett
Reviewed by DoVeanna S. Fulton Minor, 366

Mediating American Autobiography: Photography in Emerson, Thoreau, Douglass, and Whitman, by Sean Ross Meehan
Reviewed by Marta L. Werner, 369

Daybooks of Discovery: Nature Diaries in Britain, 1770–1870, by Mary Ellen Bellanca
Reviewed by Laura Dassow Walls, 374

Life Writing in Reformation Europe: Lives of Reformers by Friends, Disciples and Foes, by Irena Backus
Reviewed by Diarmaid MacCulloch, 380

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