Biography: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short by Hermione Lee

By Hermione Lee

Hermione Lee is likely one of the major literary biographers within the English-speaking global, the writer of extensively acclaimed lives of Edith Wharton and Virginia Woolf. Now, during this Very brief creation, Lee presents an impressive examine the style within which she is an undisputed master--the paintings of biography.

Here Lee considers the cultural and historic historical past of other kinds of biographies, appears on the components that impact biographers, and asks even if there are diversified techniques, ethics, and rules required for writing approximately one individual in comparison to one other. She additionally discusses modern biographical guides and considers what sort of "lives" are the most well-liked and fashionable. And alongside the way in which, she solutions such questions as why do sure humans and historic occasions arouse rather a lot curiosity? How can biographies be in comparison with heritage and works of fiction? Does a biography must be real? Is it appropriate to forget or disguise issues? Does the biographer have to for my part understand the topic? needs to a biographer be subjective?

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She must not allow Conroy to exercise ‘too much influence over her but keep him in his place’. 6 As well as being separated from the Royal Family, the Princess must also be shielded from any English lady who might have undesirable connections and friends; and Baroness Lehzen, being German, and ‘entirely dependent’ upon the Duchess, happily had none of these. The Princess must also, like her mother, ‘acquire popularity and a widefollowing’, clearly distinguishing her from all her dissolute relations.

She must be strictly shielded from anyone who might endeavour to gain her confidence; furthermore, she must be separated from other membersof the Royal Family, in particular from her uncle, the wicked Duke of Cumberland, who, so Conroy liked it to be supposed, as an additional reason for keeping her isolated, was quite capable of having her poisoned or otherwise disposed of so that he could succeed to his brother’s throne. Well aware of the system being adopted at Kensington, the Duchess of Clarence wroteto her sister-in-law to advise her against a policy which was attributed - ‘rightly or wrongly’, she could not judge - to Sir John Conroy, ‘a man of merit’ but one whose family was ‘not of so high a rank that they alone should be the entourage and companions of the QUEENVICTORIA future Queen of England’.

TheDuke of Wellington’sfriend,Harriet Arbuthnot, was equally taken with the little girl, ‘the most charming child’ she ever saw. ”* She was graceful in her movements andwalked with a regal air, an accomplishment attributed to her having had to submit on occasions to a bunch of prickly holly pinned to the front of her dress to keep her head up. It was not until she was nearly eleven years old that the Princess learned hownearshe was tothethrone. Of course, sheknewthatshe was an honoured little personage.

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