Everything is biographical, Lucian Freud says. What we make, why it is made, how we draw a dog, who it is we are drawn to, why we cannot forget. Everything is collage, even genetics. There is the hidden presence of others in us, even those we have known briefly. We contain them for the rest of our lives, at every border we cross.
The problem of forgetting might not torment us so much if we could only convince ourselves that remembering isn't important. Perhaps the things we learn - words, dates, formulas, historical and biographical details - don't really matter. Facts can be looked up. That's what the Internet is for.
Landscapes can be deceptive. Sometimes a landscape seems to be less a setting for the life of its inhabitants than a curtain behind which their struggles, achievements and accidents takes place. For those who are behind the curtain, landmarks are no longer only geographic but also biographical and personal
I have always been averse to theorizing about the art or craft of biography. Like Disraeli's biographer, Lord Blake, who offers the cautionary analogy of the biographical centipede unsure of her next step because of too much cerebration, I have made it my practice to let the facts find the theory.
David Levering Lewis
Several years ago, I was creating a Christmas present for the family, a self-published cookbook featuring recipes my grandmother had collected and created over decades. While interviewing her for the biographical section, she began to talk about her courtship with my late grandfather.
'Woman on the Plaza,' with its distinct horizon, snow-like surfaces, wintry wall, stunning sunlight, sharp shadows, and hurrying figure, would become the most biographical of my photographs - an abstract image of the landscape and life of northern Ohio where I grew up and first practiced photography.
I think too much is known about me already. I think biographical information can get in the way of the reading experience. The interchange between the reader and the work. For example, I know far too much about Norman Mailer and Kurt Vonnegut. Because I know as much as I do about their personal lives, I can't read their work without this interjecting itself. So if I had it to do over, I'd probably go the way of J.D. Salinger or Thomas Pynchon. And just stay out of it altogether and let all the focus be on the work itself and not on me.
if I believed that the choice lay between a sacrifice of the completest order of biography and that of the inviolability of private epistolary correspondence, I could not hesitate for a moment. I would keep the old and precious privacy,-the inestimable right of every one who has a friend and can write to him, - I would keep our written confidence from being made biographical material, as anxiously as I would keep our spoken conversation from being noted down for the good of society.
According to energy medicine, we are all living history books. Our bodies contain our histories- every chapter, line and verse of every event and relationship in our lives. As our lives unfold, our biological health becomes a living, breathing biographical statement that conveys our strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears.
I think 'Comic Book: The Movie' is the apex of my career in terms of making a personal statement that has significance to me and resonates with biographical detail about not only my career, but all the people that I've worked with in my career. All of it's riddled, on- and off-camera, with people I've known and worked with for decades.
[Biographical info on Rita] Born and raised in a Sephardic Jewish family in which culture and love of learning were categorical imperatives, she abandoned religion and embraced atheism. She devoted herself to Science, getting to the point of renouncing marriage for scientific research... Unlike other people, Rita Levi Montalcini was a complete human being.
Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads: ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant generals - the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned, if at all.
Biographical history, as taught in our public schools, is still largely a history of boneheads; ridiculous kings and queens, paranoid political leaders, compulsive voyagers, ignorant general the flotsam and jetsam of historical currents. The men who radically altered history, the great scientists and mathematicians, are seldom mentioned, if at all.
In the biographical novel, there's only one person involved. I, the author, spend two to five years becoming the main character. I do that so by the time you get to the bottom of Page 2 or 3, you forget your name, where you live, your profession and the year it is. You become the main character of the book. You live the book.
[Photography] allows me to accede to an infra-knowledge; it supplies me with a collection of partial objects and can flatter a certain fetishism of mine: for this 'me' which like knowledge, which nourishes a kind of amorous preference for it. In the same way, I like certain biographical features which, in a writer's life, delight me as much as certain photographs; I have called these features 'biographemes'; Photography has the same relation to History that the biographeme has to biography.
One would naturally expect that the Lord Jesus Christ would be sufficiently important to receive ample notice in the literature of his time, and that extensive biographical material would be available. He was observed by multitudes of people, and his own followers numbered into the hundreds (1 Cor. 15:6), whose witness was still living in the middle of the first century. As a matter of fact, the amount of information concerning him is comparatively meager. Aside from the four Gospels, and a few scattered allusions in the epistles, contemporary history is almost silent concerning him.
Merrill C. Tenney
He is not a true man of science who does not bring some sympathy to his studies, and expect to learn something by behavior as well as by application. It is childish to rest in the discovery of mere coincidences, or of partial and extraneous laws. The study of geometry is a petty and idle exercise of the mind, if it is applied to no larger system than the starry one. Mathematics should be mixed not only with physics but with ethics; that is mixed mathematics. The fact which interests us most is the life of the naturalist. The purest science is still biographical.
Henry David Thoreau
the bouquet Between me and the world you are a bay, a sail the faithful ends of a rope you are a fountain, a wind, a shrill childhood cry. Between me and the world you are a picture frame, a window a field covered in wildflowers you are a breath, a bed, a night that keeps the stars company. Between me and the world, you are a calendar, a compass a ray of light that slips through the gloom you are a biographical sketch, a book mark a preface that comes at the end. between me and the world you are a gauze curtain, a mist a lamp shining in my dreams you are a bamboo flute, a song without words a closed eyelid carved in stone. Between me and the world you are a chasm, a pool an abyss plunging down you are a balustrade, a wall a shield's eternal pattern.
In the value-framework of his age the verbal expression of Hallaj's ecstatic state existed as a totality, and the meaning of the expression rested on the biographical evidence and on the dimensions available within the ecstatic state. It was perhaps for this reason that the phrase ana al-haqq could not derive any other meaning except the one dictated by the academic discipline of the Divine Unity. Consequently, al-Haqq became synonymous with the Divinity, and the phrase ana al-haqq was understood to carry suggestions towards the unification of God and man. Thus, "I am the Truth" became transformed to the startling expression of "I am God". However, in the first two hundred years of the controversy, it was Kashf al-Mahjub which had attempted to strike a balance and had indicated that the expression could be made a subject of literary treatment.
The daughter of the literary biographer Leslie Stephen, and close friend of the innovative biographer of the Victorians, Lytton Strachey, Woolf herself put forward, in 'The New Biography' (1927) (reviewing work by another biographer acquaintance, Harold Nicolson), her own memorable theory of biography, encapsulated in her phrase 'granite and rainbow'. 'Truth' she envisions 'as something of granite-like solidity', and 'personality as something of rainbow-like intangibility', and 'the aim of biography', she proposes, 'is to weld these two into one seamless whole' (E4 473). The following short biographical account ofWoolf will attempt to keep to the basic granitelike facts that Woolf novices need to know, while also occasionally attending in brief to the more elusive, but equally relevant, matter of rainbow-like personality.
I placed some of the DNA on the ends of my fingers and rubbed them together. The stuff was sticky. It began to dissolve on my skin. 'It's melting - like cotton candy.' 'Sure. That's the sugar in the DNA,' Smith said. 'Would it taste sweet?' 'No. DNA is an acid, and it's got salts in it. Actually, I've never tasted it.' Later, I got some dried calf DNA. I placed a bit of the fluff on my tongue. It melted into a gluey ooze that stuck to the roof of my mouth in a blob. The blob felt slippery on my tongue, and the taste of pure DNA appeared. It had a soft taste, unsweet, rather bland, with a touch of acid and a hint of salt. Perhaps like the earth's primordial sea. It faded away. Page 67, in Richard Preston's biographical essay on Craig Venter, "The Genome Warrior" (originally published in The New Yorker in 2000).
Woolf drew on her memories of her holidays in Cornwall for To the Lighthouse, which was conceived in part as an elegy on her parents. Her father was a vigorous walker and an Alpinist of some renown, a member of the Alpine Club and editor of the Alpine Journal from 1868 to 1872; he was the first person to climb the Schreckhorn in the Alps and he wrote on Alpine pleasures in The Playground of Europe (1871). By the time he married Julia Duckworth in 1878, however, a more sedentary Leslie Stephen was the established editor of the Cornhill Magazine, from which he later resigned to take up the editorship of the Dictionary of National Biography in 1882, the year of Woolf 's birth. Stephen laboured on this monumental Victorian enterprise until 1990, editing single-handed the first twenty-six volumes and writing well over 300 biographical entries. He also published numerous volumes of criticism, the most important of which were on eighteenth-century thought and literature.
The biggest spur to my interest in art came when I played van Gogh in the biographical film Lust For Life. The role affected me deeply. I was haunted by this talented genius who took his own life, thinking he was a failure. How terrible to paint pictures and feel that no one wants them. How awful it would be to write music that no one wants to hear. Books that no one wants to read. And how would you like to be an actor with no part to play, and no audience to watch you. Poor Vincent-he wrestled with his soul in the wheat field of Auvers-sur-Oise, stacks of his unsold paintings collecting dust in his brother's house. It was all too much for him, and he pulled the trigger and ended it all. My heart ached for van Gogh the afternoon that I played that scene. As I write this, I look up at a poster of his "Irises"-a poster from the Getty Museum. It's a beautiful piece of art with one white iris sticking up among a field of blue ones. They paid a fortune for it, reportedly $53 million. And poor Vincent, in his lifetime, sold only one painting for 400 francs or $80 dollars today. This is what stimulated my interest in buying works of art from living artists. I want them to know while they are alive that I enjoy their paintings hanging on my walls, or their sculptures decorating my garden
The 1990s to the present: feminism, historicism, postcolonialism, ethics There has never been a better time to study Virginia Woolf. Woolf studies, in the 1990s and in the new millennium, has continued to flourish and diversify in all its numerous and proliferating aspects. In this recent period the topics that occupied earlier critics continue in new debates, on her modernism, her philosophy and ethics, her feminism and her aesthetics; and there have also been marked turns in new directions. Woolf and her work have been increasingly examined in the context of empire, drawing on the influential field of postcolonial studies; and, stimulated by the impetus of new historicism and cultural materialism, there have been new attempts to understand Woolf 's writing and persona in the context of the public and private spheres, in the present as well as in her own time. Woolf in the context of war and fascism, and in the contexts of modernity, science and technology, continue to exercise critics. Serious, sustained readings of lesbianism in Woolf 's writing and in her life have marked recent feminist interpretations in Woolf studies. Enormous advances have also been made in the study of Woolf 's literary and cultural influences and allusions. Numerous annotated and scholarly editions of Woolf 's works have been appearing since she briefly came out of copyright in 1991, accompanied by several more scholarly editions of her works in draft and holograph, encouraging further critical scrutiny of her compositional methods. There have been several important reference works on Woolf. Many biographies of Woolf and her circle have also appeared, renewing biographical criticism, along with a number of works concerned with Woolf in geographical context, from landscape and London sites to Woolf 's and her circle's many houses and holiday retreats.
Eliot's understanding of poetic epistemology is a version of Bradley's theory, outlined in our second chapter, that knowing involves immediate, relational, and transcendent stages or levels. The poetic mind, like the ordinary mind, has at least two types of experience: The first consists largely of feeling (falling in love, smelling the cooking, hearing the noise of the typewriter), the second largely of thought (reading Spinoza). The first type of experience is sensuous, and it is also to a great extent monistic or immediate, for it does not require mediation through the mind; it exists before intellectual analysis, before the falling apart of experience into experiencer and experienced. The second type of experience, in contrast, is intellectual (to be known at all, it must be mediated through the mind) and sharply dualistic, in that it involves a breaking down of experience into subject and object. In the mind of the ordinary person, these two types of experience are and remain disparate. In the mind of the poet, these disparate experiences are somehow transcended and amalgamated into a new whole, a whole beyond and yet including subject and object, mind and matter. Eliot illustrates his explanation of poetic epistemology by saying that John Donne did not simply feel his feelings and think his thoughts; he felt his thoughts and thought his feelings. He was able to "feel his thought as immediately as the odour of a rose." Immediately" in this famous simile is a technical term in philosophy, used with precision; it means unmediated through mind, unshattered into subject and object. Falling in love and reading Spinoza typify Eliot's own experiences in the years in which he was writing The Waste Land. These were the exciting and exhausting years in which he met Vivien Haigh-Wood and consummated a disastrous marriage, the years in which he was deeply involved in reading F. H. Bradley, the years in which he was torn between the professions of philosophy and poetry and in which he was in close and frequent contact with such brilliant and stimulating figures as Bertrand Russell and Ezra Pound, the years of the break from his family and homeland, the years in which in every area of his life he seemed to be between broken worlds. The experiences of these years constitute the material of The Waste Land. The relevant biographical details need not be reviewed here, for they are presented in the introduction to The Waste Land Facsimile. For our purposes, it is only necessary to acknowledge what Eliot himself acknowledged: the material of art is always actual life. At the same time, it should also be noted that material in itself is not art. As Eliot argued in his review of Ulysses, "in creation you are responsible for what you can do with material which you must simply accept." For Eliot, the given material included relations with and observations of women, in particular, of his bright but seemingly incurably ill wife Vivien(ne).
Jewel Spears Brooker