The Self-Portrait of a Literary Biographer Joan Givner

ISBN: 9780820315522

Published:

Hardcover

195 pages


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The Self-Portrait of a Literary Biographer  by  Joan Givner

The Self-Portrait of a Literary Biographer by Joan Givner
| Hardcover | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, ZIP | 195 pages | ISBN: 9780820315522 | 9.57 Mb

Tough-minded, witty, and refreshingly candid, this book represents a biographers journey into autobiography. Joan Givner, best known for her controversial study Katherine Anne Porter: A Life, has written an unconventional but thoroughly compellingMoreTough-minded, witty, and refreshingly candid, this book represents a biographers journey into autobiography. Joan Givner, best known for her controversial study Katherine Anne Porter: A Life, has written an unconventional but thoroughly compelling memoir in which the rational is played against the intuitive, the public against the private, the present against the past.

Givner rejects a conventional chronological narrative in favor of a series of numbered vignettes linked by a kind of free association. Reading the book is akin to turning a kaleidoscope: with each reconfiguring of elements, ones perception alters ever so slightly but ever so significantly. Givner reveals herself as child and adult, mother and daughter, biographer and subject, critic and fiction writer.

There is stark power in the recollections of her working-class childhood in Manchester, England, and her return to England on the occasion of her fathers death. There is poignancy and pain in the depictions of her relationship with her mother. And there is wry, self-deprecating humor in her evocations of life in the academy and the world of letters. Among the most fascinating glimpses the book offers are those of Givners experiences investigating the life of Katherine Anne Porter.

Givner recalls Porters invitation to become her biographer and literary executor and recounts visits to the writers Maryland home and, later, to her hospital bedside. Depicted as well are Givners meetings with Porters friends and acquaintances - a research quest that led to one particularly fateful encounter with Eudora Welty. Moving across geographical boundaries - England, the United States, Canada - as fluidly as it moves between past and present, The Self-Portrait of a Literary Biographer explores the overlapping strands of Givners life without ever losing its narrative drive.

A work of rare honesty and perception, it may well encourage readers to make their own journeys of self-examination.



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