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The Biographical Turn


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements List of contributors Introduction 1 The Biographical Turn: Biography as Critical Method in the Humanities and in Society Hans Renders, Binne de Haan and Jonne Harmsma Section 1: The Biographical Turn in the Humanities 2 Biography as Corrective Nigel Hamilton 3 The Plurality of the Past: Historical Time and the Rediscovery of Biography Sabina Loriga 4 The Life Is Never Over: Biography as a Microhistorical Approach Sigurdur Gylfi Magnusson 5 Personalized History: Biofiction, Source Criticism and the Topicality of Biography Binne de Haan 6 The Life Effect: Literature Studies and the Biographical Perspective Joanny Moulin 7 Biography as a Concept of Thought: On the Premises of Biographical Research and Narrative Christian Klein Section 2: The Biographical Turn in Fields of Knowledge 8 Biographies as Multipliers: The First World War as Turning Point in the Lives of Modernist Artists Hans Renders and Sjoerd van Faassen 9 'Honest Politics': A Biographical Perspective on Economic Expertise as a Political Style Jonne Harmsma 10 Rediscovering Agency in the Atlantic: A Biographical Approach Linking Entrepreneurial Spirit and Overseas Companies Kaarle Wirta 11 Building Bridges to Past Centuries: Religion and Empathy in Early Modern Biography Enny de Bruijn 12 Palatable and Unpalatable Leaders: Apartheid and Post-Apartheid Afrikaner Biography Lindie Koorts Section 3: The Biographical Turn in Academia and Society 13 Biography Is Not A Selfie: Authorization as the Creeping Transition from Autobiography to Biography Hans Renders 14 What Are We Turning From? Research and Ideology in Biography and Life Writing Craig Howes 15 Liberation From Low Dark Space: Biography Beside and Beyond the Academy Carl Rollyson 16 From Academic Historian to Popular Biographer: Musings on the Practical Poetics of Biography Debby Applegate Bibliography Index

About the Author

Hans Renders is Professor of History and the Director of the Institute of Biography at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. His publications include Theoretical Discussions of Biography: Approaches from History, Microhistory, and Life Writing (2014). He is the cofounder of Biographers International Organization (BIO), the Vice-President of the Biography Society/La Societe de Biographie and a jury member for the Plutarch Award for best American biography. Binne de Haan is a research staff member of the Biography Institute at the University of Groningen. His publications include Theoretical Discussions of Biography: Approaches from History, Microhistory, and Life Writing (2014), and an English translation of his PhD thesis Van Kroon tot Bastaard (From Prince to Pauper: Biography and the Individual Perspective in Historiography) is forthcoming. Jonne Harmsma is a PhD researcher in the Biography Institute at the University of Groningen and is working on a biography of the Dutch Prime Minister and Central Bank President Jelle Zijlstra.


"This book provides compelling evidence of the lively current state of biographical studies and its power to raise new questions about the nature and course of historical change by focusing on the relationship between individual determination, creativity, or enterprise and larger social, economic, and political forces."

Lee V. Chambers, University of Colorado Boulder, USA

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