A fascinating survey of biographical genres
Lives as lived and lives as written are never one and the same. To turn the first into the second one must introduce "fiction" into the "fact" of the actual existence; this is never more true than during the Renaissance, when multiformity was the rule. The Rhetorics of Life-Writing in Early Modern Europe explores the ways in which authors and their subjects constructed images for themselves, and some of the ways in which those images worked.
The volume is especially timely in light of the growing interest in "microhistory," and in the histories that are emerging from nonliterary documents. Chapters consider numerous genres, including hagiography, epistolary and verse biography, and less familiar forms such as parodic prosopography, life-writing in funeral sermons, and comic martyrology.
Contributors to the volume come from history, art history, and literature, and they include F.W. Conrad, Sheila ffolliott, Robert Kolb, James Mehl, Diana Robin, T.C. Price Zimmerman, and Elizabeth Goldsmith and Abby Zanger, among others.
Thomas F. Mayer is Associate Professor of History, Augustana College. D. R. Woolf is Professor of History, Dalhousie University.