Williams KJ (2017) Private Lives Made Public: The Invention of Biography in Early Modern England. Pittsburgh, PA: Duquesne UP, 2016. x + 206pp. ISBN 13: 9780820704821. $70.00 (cloth). Milton Quarterly, 51 (2), pp. 138-140. https://doi.org/10.1111/milt.12206
First paragraph: On the final page of this volume, Andrea Walkden writes what could also be both its beginning and its battle‐cry: “from the royal memoir to the merest minute, the early modern life has always invited misrecognition” (165). This is only too true. From the era of classic works such as Donald Stauffer's English Biography Before 1700 (1930) until surprisingly recently, early modern biographies have been approached with a strange lack of critical acumen, a desire to enumerate but not to analyze, and a peculiar detachment from any larger historical or generic awareness. It is greatly to Walkden's credit that she has consciously and decisively repudiated this tradition in favor of a new, more critical approach to some of the central works of the early modern biographical canon.
Literature and Literary Theory
Output Type: Book Review
Milton Quarterly: Volume 51, Issue 2
|Publication date online||20/07/2017|
|Date accepted by journal||24/04/2017|