Universitatea „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” din Iași, Departamentul de Românistică, Literatură comparată și Jurnalism
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2 / 2018
The Conditions for a Contemporary Critical Biography
Starting from the awareness of a “biography boom” în today’s media landscape, the article discusses the predicament of the literary biography in modern literatures, focusing on the Romanian case. While Romanticism encouraged a philosophically motivated surge in writers’ biographies, the modernist spreading of aesthetic autonomy made the practice of biography a troubled one. Furthermore, poststructuralist thinkers such as Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault sought to separate biographical inquiries from actual literary or philological studies. However, their caveats helped in constructing a more nuanced, reasoned, self-critical and ideologically-aware concept of biography, giving biographers a very narrow, yet consistent margin for hermeneutic freedom.
Keywords: biography, literary theory, poststructuralism, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, M. Blecher