Biography, vol. 33, no. 2 (2010)

Biography 33.2 coverEDITORS’ NOTE, iii


Telling the Life Story, Anxiously: The Memoirs of Teresa and Anna Campbell
Judith Lütge Coullie, 309

Jürgen Schlaeger describes autobiography (“a discourse of anxiety”) and biography (“a discourse of usurpation”) as “distinctly different kinds of rhetorical constructions with different legitimizing strategies, grounds of authority, and points of view.” Focusing on the memoirs of Teresa and Anna, daughters of the poet and writer, Roy Campbell (1901–1957) and his wife Mary (1898–1979), this essay examines the challenges arising when autobiography arbitrates biography.

Essaying in Autobiography: Wystan Hugh Auden’s and Walter Benjamin’s Faces
Teresa Bruś, 333

This essay engages with the essay as a hybrid form of life writing in which Wystan Hugh Auden and Walter Benjamin reconfigure their understanding of the significance of the human face. Invaded by history, Benjamin responds with a new faceless vision. Auden, for his part, defends his European faces as a defense from chimerical publics.

Inciting Teaching and Learning: Loss and Mourning in Alice Kaplan’s French Lessons
Ursula A. Kelly, 350

Through a reading of Alice Kaplan’s memoir, French Lessons, this essay explores the dynamics of loss and attachment within learning, teaching, and intellectual history. Drawing on psychoanalytic notions of mourning, melancholia, and reparation, I propose a reading of the memoir as elegiac, as reparative, and as educative—as a work that examines the relationship of self and other, through the emergence of a personal and professional ethics, within the vicissitudes of learning and teaching. In so doing, I argue that reading French Lessons as an account of the relationship of teaching, learning, and loss demonstrates how memoir and autobiography matter, educationally, and how their study can contribute significantly to intellectual history.

Life Writing in Europe
Marijke Huisman, 366

Report of the Founding Conference of the International Auto/Biography Association–Europe, held at VU University Amsterdam, 29–31 October 2009.


Cutting a Figure: Fashioning Black Portraiture, by Richard J. Powell
Reviewed by Amy Mooney, 370

Becoming a Woman of Letters: Myths of Authorship and Facts of the Victorian Market, by Linda Peterson
Reviewed by Lyn Pykett, 374

The Domestication of Genius: Biography and the Romantic Poet, by Julian North
Reviewed by Stephen C. Behrendt, 377

Autobiography and Natural Science in the Age of Romanticism: Rousseau, Goethe, Thoreau, by Bernhard Kuhn
Reviewed by Eugene Stelzig, 380

Owning Up: Privacy, Property and Belonging in U.S. Women’s Life Writing, by Katharine Adams
Reviewed by Carolyn Sorisio, 384

A Summer of Hummingbirds: Love, Art, and Scandal in the Intersecting Worlds of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain, and Martin Johnson Heade, by Christopher Benfey
Reviewed by Sarah Driscoll, 389

A Russian Paints America: The Travels of Pavel P. Svin’in, 1811–1813, by Pavel P. Svin’in
Reviewed by Daniel L. Schlafly, Jr., 394

The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D by Sir John Hawkins, Knt., edited by O M Brack
Reviewed by Robert G. Walker, 397

Sir Francis Drake: The Construction of a Hero, by Bruce Wathen
Reviewed by Mark Netzloff, 400

Child of the Enlightenment: Revolutionary Europe Reflected in a Boyhood Diary, by Arianne Baggerman and Rudolf Dekker
Reviewed by Julia Douthwaite, 403

Using Biographical Methods in Social Research, by Barbara Merrill and Linden West
Reviewed by Natalee Popadiuk, 406

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