Biography, vol. 34, no. 2 (2011)

Editors’ Note, v


Autographics and the History of the Form: Chronicling Self and Career in Will Eisner’s Life, in Pictures and Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s A Drifting Life
Rocío G. Davis, 253

Using the notion of “autographics,” this essay examines how Will Eisner, in Life, in Pictures (2007) and Yoshihiro Tatsumi, in A Drifting Life (2009), deploy the graphic form to illustrate the development of graphic art, incorporating the story of their artistic trajectory with a critical look at the development of the medium in their time. The texts become exceptional documents that trace the interconnections among politics, society, art, economy, and idealism in the United States and Japan before and after the Second World War.

A Hermeneutics of Recruitment: The Case of Wordsworth
Mark David Kaufman, 277

In his 1998 biography The Hidden Wordsworth: Poet, Lover, Rebel, Spy, Kenneth R. Johnston advances the controversial claim that the Romantic poet may have been working for the Home Office in a clandestine capacity while traveling in Germany as a young man. This article offers a rhetorical analysis of Johnston’s method of positing Wordsworth’s juvenile errors as the means by which he was recruited into service. Johnston’s method is not so much biographical as tropological, an imaginative fi guration of the poet-as-spy based upon a series of metaphorical and metonymical substitutions. Ostensibly an act of uncovering Wordsworth’s involvement in late eighteenth-century intrigues, the biographer weaves a narrative of secret motives and actions that effectively recruits Wordsworth as a participant in twentieth-century conflicts.

Autobiography and the Problem of Finish
Hannah Sullivan, 298

Both diaries and autobiographies are difficult to end. Where diarists struggle to find the last words, autobiographies are prone to being revised after a first draft is complete. This essay compares several heavily rewritten autobiographies from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including Leslie Stephen’s Mausoleum Book, Virginia Woolf ’s “A Sketch of the Past” and James Joyce’s novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It argues that the problem of finishing a text is historically constituted, and shows why critics interested in life writing should pay closer attention to genetic processes.

Victorian Biography Reconsidered: A Study of Nineteenth-Century “Hidden” Lives, by Juliette Atkinson
Reviewed by Alison Booth, 326

Biography and History, by Barbara Caine
Reviewed by Jeremy D. Popkin, 329

The Inheritance of Genius: A Thackery Family Biography, 1798–1875, by John Aplin
Reviewed by Sheldon Goldfarb, 331

Shakespeare and Biography, by David Bevington
Reviewed by Robert McHenry, 334

The Made-Up Self: Impersonation in the Personal Essay, by Carl H. Klaus
Reviewed by Elizabeth S. (Beth) Taylor, 338

Mr. Isherwood Changes Trains: Christopher Isherwood and the Search for the “Home Self,” by Vincent Marsh
Reviewed by Jaime Harker, 341

Personal Effects: Reading the Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff, by Sonia Wilson
Reviewed by Valerie Raoul, 343

Jack Tar’s Story: The Autobiographies and Memoirs of Sailors in Antebellum America, by Myra C. Glenn
Reviewed by Niklas Frykman, 346

How We Are Changed By War: A Study of Letters and Diaries from Colonial Conflicts to Operation Iraqi Freedom, by D. C. Gill
Reviewed by Dan P. McAdams, 348

Perfect Heroes: The World War II Parachutists and the Making of Israeli Collective Memory, by Judith Tydor Baumel-Schwartz
Reviewed by Rachel S. Harris, 353

Postcolonial Travel Writing: Critical Explorations, edited by Justin D. Edwards and Rune Graulund
Reviewed by Michael H. Fisher, 355

Acts of Narrative Resistance: Women’s Autobiographical Writings in the Americas, by Laura J. Beard
Reviewed by Joanna R. Bartow, 358

Beyond Narrative Coherence, edited by Matti Hyvärinen, Lars-Christer Hydén, Marja Saarenheimo, and Maria Tamboukou
Reviewed by Anna De Fina, 362

Nomadic Narratives, Visual Forces: Gwen John’s Letters and Paintings, by Maria Tamboukou
Reviewed by Maria Photiou, 364

Counter-Archive: Film, the Everyday, and Albert Kahn’s Archives de la Planète, by Paula Amad
Reviewed by Jan Baetens, 366


Excerpts from recent reviews of biographies, autobiographies, and other
works of interest, 371