In Writing Biography, six
prominent historians address these issues and reflect on their varied
experiences and divergent perspectives as biographers. Shirley A.
Leckie examines the psychological and personal connections between
biographer and subject; R. Keith Schoppa considers the pervasive effect
of culture on the recognition of individuality and the presentation of
a life; Retha M. Warnicke explores past context and modern cultural
biases in writing the biographies of Tudor women; John Milton Cooper
Jr. discusses the challenges of writing modern biographies and the
interplay of the biographer’s own experiences; Nell Irvin Painter looks
at the process of reconstructing a life when written documents are
scant; and Robert J. Richards investigates the intimate relationship
between life experiences and new ideas.
Despite their broad range of
perspectives, all six scholars agree on two central points: biography
and historical analysis are inextricably linked, and biographical
studies offer an important tool for analyzing historical questions.