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Body Parts: Essays on Life-Writing
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Body Parts: Essays on Life-Writing

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
As readers, we seem to be increasingly fascinated by studies of individual lives. In this timely, unusual and exhilarating collection Hermione Lee is concerned in different ways with approaches to 'life-writing': the relation of biography to fiction and history; the exploration of writers' lives in connection with their works; the new and changing ways in which biographies ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 6th 2005 by Chatto & Windus
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Courtney Johnston
Worth it for the opening and closing chapters - marked just on those, this would have been a five-star.

The opening chapter, 'Shelley's Heart and Pepys's Lobster' is engrossing and entertaining. Lee opens with one of what seem to be the two central questions of 'life-writing' (the term she picks to agglomerate different kinds of biogrpahical writing) - the issue of 'facts':

Biographies are full of verifiable facts, but they are also full of things that aren't there: absences, gaps, missing evidenc
Apr 14, 2014 Ineffablyschmoo rated it really liked it
This book is a series of essays on life-writing, loosely held together by the organising metaphor of "body parts". They seem to be a collection of reflections on the challenges of biography, the boundary between biography, truth and fiction, and critical reviews of other writers' biographies of literary figures. Hermione Lee explores the lives of a number of literary figures and how they have been "versioned" by biographers, the dilemmas that arise from how to write death into the lives of autho ...more
Jun 20, 2007 Katharine rated it liked it
Shelves: biography, essays
Interesting collection, though the later essays seemed rather perfunctory in some cases. (Also, I'm just not as interested in late-c20 writers.) The pieces on biographical cruxes in Woolf and Austen's lives were neat.
Dec 24, 2014 sisterimapoet rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction15
Not sure I like Lee's style that much. But I like what she was trying to do here - and I feel I've gained a new understanding of certain authors, and a few new names to check out too.
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Hermione Lee grew up in London and was educated at Oxford. She began her academic career as a lecturer at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va (Instructor, 1970-1971) and at Liverpool University (Lecturer, 1971-1977). She taught at the University of York from 1977, where over twenty years she was Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor of English Literature. From 1998-200 ...more
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