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In modern and post-modern times, biography is one of the most popular genres of the day. All around the Western world, we are engaged in the lives of ordinary and well-known people, and biographies fly off the shelves. In this book, Danish historian and biographer Birgitte Possing uncovers the essence of biography as a genre, spanning a number of radically different types of life-storytelling. She defines biography as a genre, a narrative form and an analytic field, providing guidelines to an understanding of gender, archetypes, narrative traditions, critique and ethics of the field. This is not a cookery book with just one recipe for how to write a biography. It does not provide simple answers to questions on how, why or upon which sources biographies should be written or read. On the contrary, the book shows the numerous styles and wide-ranging conventions around the Western world in which biographies are accomplished. Birgitte Possing interprets the biographical renaissance during the last thirty years as completely in keeping with the individualising zeitgeist around the millennium shift. From a local to an international perspective, she identifies and reflects on the traditions in international writing and reading of biographies with examples from a wide range of Western and Nordic countries.
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