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~ Writing a Biography ~ STALKING THE ELEPHANTAbout Writing Biography and Imagining a Life

SARA BARD FIELD: LINKING THE OUTER AND INNER STORIES

Sara Bard Field on tour
    I haven't talked much on this blog about my own work. But a couple of months ago someone sent me some good questions about choosing a subject, researching and writing a biography, and the kinds of challenges biography can involve.
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1. What initially drew you to the subjects you've chosen to write about?

   I tend to become obsessed with stories that can give me and my reader insights into human psychology and social change, especially if I can tell the story from the subject's perspective. I'm happiest writing from the inside out, so to speak.  Read More 
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BAREFOOT IN THE ARCHIVE

In my report on a lecture given by biographer Richard Holmes, I didn't mention that at one point he recalled arriving in a downpour for a discussion at the famous but notoriously mud-soaked Hay-on-Wye literary festival in Wales and being greeted by a moderator who said to him, in a lilting Welsh accent, “Ah, Mr. Holmes. Fine weather for biographers! Plenty of feet of clay!”

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     It wasn't exactly clear whether the target of this whimsical reminder of the debunking tendencies of biography were the people Holmes and his fellow biographers wrote about or biographers themselves—probably both. Anyway, the implications of this amusing story were in the back of my mind as I arrived at the Huntington Library and Gardens in San Marino, California last week  Read More 
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AN INTRODUCTORY WORD ABOUT ELEPHANT-STALKING

Maurice Prendergast, Summer, New England, 1912. (Smithsonian American Art Museum)

        Let me say right away that this isn't a blog about hunting elephants. It's about writing biography, in this case a biography with the working title of Sara and Erskine, an American Romance. I don't believe in hunting elephants except with a camera, for cinematic or scientific purposes so I can watch them disporting  Read More 
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