Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography

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Faber & Faber, 18.03.1994 - 344 Seiten
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We live in the great age of literary biography. But how much should a biographer tell? How much should an executor suppress? Does the public's right to know override an individual's right to privacy?
To answer these questions, Ian Hamilton presents a probing and far-reaching account of literary estate management and mismanagement through the centuries from Donne and Shakespeare to Plath and Larkin. In a gripping series of case studies, he recounts the battles between the protective and the curious, between the keepers of the sacred flame and those who might seek to snuff it out.
Hamilton offers a violent, lurid and hugely entertaining history of broken promises and mismanaged wills, of reputations whitewashed or maligned, of scholars and crooks, of muddle, trickery, scandal and vendetta. He includes the burning of Byron's memoir, the deification of Shelley and Henry James' attempt to "fix" his own posthumous reputation as well as the more recent controversies surrounding the Plath and Larkin estates. Throughout, Hamilton presents an array of well-meaning acolytes - admirers, best friends, widows - whose task it was to keep the flame sacred.
Offering a compelling contribution to current debate on the moral issues of biography, Hamilton writes of the "greats" of English literature with an intimacy and a subversive wit that make this book a joy to read.

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KEEPERS OF THE FLAME: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography

Nutzerbericht  - Kirkus

A surprisingly original study of the literary estates of many famed writers, and a look at the tangled relationship between estate management and biography. Hamilton wrote the strong Robert Lowell ... Vollständige Rezension lesen

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