This is really interesting...
Posted by Valerie Mc. on March 30, 1998 at 22:02:55:
In response to for an example..., written by P. Bingham on March 29, 1998 at 15:48:55
...here are two fans of a certain writer, met on a board dedicated to that writer's life and works, desiring to have a good ol' debate about that writer's letters and biographies, and fearing to do so lest they offend someone.
Human social intercourse is such an endless well of delicious irony.
I think, Patricia, that you're right in observing that we can't entirely know people through their letters, or indeed through autobiograpy, videotape, or what have you. Do we really know all those Presidents with their giant libraries?
But I think there's an important distinction betwen the spin a person gives on her own life and that a biographer gives. JA was presenting her life to her intimates, and both she and they sincerely desired privacy and discretion. Biographers strip-mine her epistolery remains for nuggets which they polish up to enhance their own reputations, and to sell books. (Yes, I read them too, but I don't kid myself. There's a lot of voyeurism involved.)
Which is why I love Cyndie for her passionate assertion of JA's right to be known as she wished herself to be, not speculated upon for vulgar profit. It's a totally useless and hopeless position, of course, but why should the windmills always win?
- Your position Myretta 07:56:02 3/31/98 (2)
- you misunderstand me. P. Bingham 03:29:17 3/31/98 (1)
- Letters & bios Valerie Mc. 22:26:05 3/31/98 (0)
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