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The Foreword by Professor Jason BeDuhn (Professor of Religious Studies, Northern Arizona University) offers an overview of this book’s critical historiography of the life of Mani, based in part on scepticism regarding the previously known sources, and in part on newly available sources. In introducing this book’s approach, BeDuhn follows various depictions of Mani the 'Apostle of Jesus Christ', the 'Doctor from Babylon', the 'Illuminator' and the 'Great Interpreter' within both the Manichaean tradition and in polemical accounts.
Samuel Clemens was born in 1835 in Missouri. He spent his childhood by the Mississippi River in Hannibal, Missouri. He was a printer’s apprentice, then was a journeyman printer, then earned a pilot’s license on the Mississippi River. He went west to Nevada, avoiding the Civil War, then became a newspaper writer. In February 1863, he signed an article with the pen name “Mark Twain,” beginning the creation of his alter ego. His 1867 trip to Europe and the Holy Land led to his travel book The Innocents Abroad. Upon his return to America, he met Olivia Langdon in Elmira, New York, and they married in 1870. A son, Langdon, died in infancy, but Sam and Livy had three daughters: Susie, Clara, and Jean. Most summers were spent in Elmira, where Twain composed many of his most famous works, including The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He turned his attention to business adventures, including starting his own publishing company, but also a series of investments, most of which ended in failure. In his last decade, he increasingly spoke out about politics. He died in 1910, his popularity assured by his works and his public persona.
This chapter focuses on the archival documents relevant to a study of McCarthy’s works completed in the 1970s: the novels Child of God and Suttree, and the teleplay The Gardener’s Son. It surveys the collections of correspondence available for these years, but concentrates primarily on McCarthy’s typescripts, identifying the relationships among the key drafts and highlighting some of the insights to be gained from the archives about the genesis, composition, revisions, and editing of these works. It shows how Child of God took its genesis from the second draft stage of Outer Dark when McCarthy repurposed material from one book for the other. For The Gardener’s Son, it surveys the documents available in the papers of McCarthy, film director Richard Pearce, and the Ecco Press Records, and outlines the changes which McCarthy made in the teleplay between its second draft and the shooting script. The Suttree section concentrates on material deleted from the novel before publication, either on McCarthy’s initiative or in response to his editor’s plea for compression. It argues that the deleted scenes saved by McCarthy in a separate folder focus primarily on the transformation of oral to literary narratives and emphasize Suttree as a writer in the making.
This chapter traces the milestones of McCarthy’s career and the history of scholarship devoted to his work. Initial lines of inquiry into McCarthy’s style, influences, and engagement with region, genre, and historical context grow more numerous and nuanced over time, and critical attention gradually turns to moral and religious implications in his work, McCarthy’s treatment of environment and ecology, how his characters and settings reflect changing economic practices and contexts, and McCarthy’s creative process as reflected in his manuscript materials. At present, we see wide interest in writing about how to teach McCarthy to different ages and demographics of students, how best to unpack his nonfiction and make connections to his other work, and how to track in more detail his interest in science and complex systems, especially given his long involvement with the Santa Fe Institute.
This chapter offers a critical overview of all of McCarthy’s works with a special emphasis on the relationship of those works to events in his life. Born in 1933, in Providence, Rhode Island, McCarthy moved to Knoxville, Tennessee as a child when his father took a job as a lawyer for the Tennessee Valley Authority. He attended the University of Tennessee for a time (majoring in Liberal Arts), where he discovered his ambition to write. His early novels explore the environment around Knoxville and are portentous inquiries into the traumas related to historical change and the nature of evil. In later years, he moved west, and from 1992 onward his work is generally set in the American West. He continues with many of the same thematic concerns as he explores major philosophical and religious themes more deeply. Through his affiliation with the Santa Fe Institute, he developed an interest in scientific inquiry, and this has become a major preoccupation in his work, especially in later years.
This chapter surveys currently available archives of drafts and correspondence relevant to a study of the works McCarthy wrote wholly or in part during his Tennessee years. It suggests broad guidelines for doing archival research on McCarthy before focusing on his first two novels, The Orchard Keeper and Outer Dark, for which the most important archives are McCarthy’s papers and those of Random House editor Albert Erskine. For this period we currently have few letters with correspondents other than McCarthy’s editors; but the archives provide a rich introduction to his working practices. They offer important glimpses of McCarthy’s early sense of confidence about his writing, his aesthetic aims and principles, and his developing relationship with Erskine, who edited his novels for twenty years. The chapter describes the relationships among the key drafts and highlights some of the insights to be gained from the archives about the genesis, composition, revisions, and editing of these works. McCarthy’s revisions of The Orchard Keeper, first for Lawrence Bensky and then for Erskine, are especially revealing of his approach to revising for another reader. The first and early drafts of Outer Dark provide rare insights into McCarthy’s compositional strategies and practices.
Mark Twain made several attempts at autobiography over the years, finally arriving in the early 1900s at a very unconventional approach: rather than a chronological memory of his life, he made daily dictations, talking about whatever was on his mind that day, which was only sometimes memories of his life, and more often comments on current events. He stopped in the middle of many memories, sometimes never to come back. The result is a rambling but interesting window into the mind a man, reflecting on his life and his times. Although versions of his autobiography were published, one during his lifetime, the complete autobiography was not published until one hundred years after his death, as he requested. The editing of these autobiographical efforts is one of the great achievements in American literary scholarship.
Edith Wharton’s archive consists of material held by over thirty institutions across North America and Europe. This essay demonstrates that the process of integrating the contents of Wharton’s archive into the study of her writing has been hindered not only by its immensity, generic diversity, and geographic distribution, but by its history. Sections of the essay address the uses of Wharton’s archive by her biographers; the significance of recently published archival documents which alter substantially our understanding of Wharton’s early career and work as a dramatist; material related to Wharton’s wartime experiences, a subject of renewed interest; and Wharton’s professional correspondence, especially her negotiations with her editors and publishers, which impacted the formal properties of Wharton’s fiction. The essay argues that Wharton’s archive remains a source of new information about the scope and variety of her achievements, and her creative processes.
The chapter is an intellectual biography of the early Bergson and lays out his immediate reasons for abandoning plans to earn a medical degree after completing his studies in philosophy. In the process, it shows Bergson’s later accounts of the early stages of his intellectual itinerary to at least be tinged by a retrospective illusion: Bergson did not start out as a psychologist-philosopher to become, via an interest in the philosophy of science, a metaphysician. A detailed overview of the institutional and intellectual landscape of nineteenth-century France demonstrates how the separation of disciplines in independent faculties of the French academy put immense pressure on philosophy to legitimate itself. This pressure was felt all the more acutely by those who, like the young Bergson, lacked economic, symbolic, and cultural capital. By abandoning the plan to study medicine, Bergson conformed to the institutional and doctrinal constraints placed on philosophy. This strategy of adaptation proved to be effective not only in the choice of topics he discussed in his dissertation but also in the way he moved toward, appropriated, and recast metaphysics as his career continued.
The introduction makes the case for fictional biography (or ‘biofiction’) as fundamental to understanding the reception of Roman poetry. Bringing together developments in life-writing studies and recent work on ancient biography and poets’ Lives, it develops a concept of biofictional reading as a key mode of the reception of Latin poetry. Aware of ancient habits of reading poetry ‘for the life’, Roman poets wrote autofictional versions of their Lives for later readers to pick up, creating a body of literature that demands to be read in terms of Lives in reception.
From modern perspectives, hagiography is the antithesis, not a sub-species, of historiography: legend and history are distinguished from each other categorically by their truth value. A different relationship obtained between hagiography and history-writing in the premodern period, however, as is witnessed by the term “legend”: while it now identifies a story precisely in terms of its failure to meet standards of historical veracity, in the Middle Ages it identified saints’ Lives as legenda: that which should be read. This chapter explores hagiography as a form of historiography, one that—as an exceptional or limit case—can help us understand how history and history-writing were conceptualized in the Middle Ages, and how they might most usefully be conceptualized in scholarship on the Middle Ages. To this end, the chapter surveys Latin and vernacular hagiography from the early eighth century to the end of the Middle Ages, attending to its narrative forms, its truth claims, its institutional affiliations, its contribution to regional and national histories, and its relation to other genres.
The life of Ayuba Sulayman Diallo (also known as Job ben Solomon) receives a fresh examination in this article, based primarily on his own writings. The son of an Imam from Bundu in Senegambia, Diallo was enslaved in 1731 and transported to America. He survived to gain his freedom, make his mark in London society, and return to Africa in 1734. This article offers an analysis of documents from the British Library, including items that have not been previously analysed and are here translated into English for the first time. In addition, they bring together what is known of his archive, including the letters he wrote before, during, and after his time in London, the Qur'ans he scribed there, and the scraps and snippets created as he discussed the Arabic language with friends.
A close analysis of Diallo's writings reveals new information about his life history; his relationships with the elites in both Bundu and London; his scholarly abilities; and the history of Bundu itself. Diallo used the technology of writing to direct the course of his own life and career, converting a disastrous course of events into favourable opportunities for himself.
The Līḷācaritra, the first literary text in Marathi, is a prose biography of Cakradhar compiled by his followers in the last quarter of the thirteenth century. The close attention to place in the Līḷācaritra is key to understanding not only this text from long ago and far away but also the attachment to particular places in other highly mobile worlds, including our own. The Līḷācaritra follows Cakradhar's ascetic peregrinations, as well as journeys made by the many people who came to see him or attempted to return to his presence (his sannidhān). The text's attention to the details of Cakradhar's daily life, including the places he visited, is motivated by bhakti (devotional love). In order to soothe the pain they felt at his absence, the community of Cakradhar's followers practiced remembrance of the things he had said and done, and made pilgrimages to the places where he had stayed.
The chapter summarizes the findings in the book, focusing on the need for new approaches to the study of Muslim historical writing. It begins by documenting the utility of the model proposed in chapter one for the case studies in chapters two through four. It then turns to more foundational questions about the nature of early Muslim historiography focusing on three areas: presuppositions that governed the craft of historical writing, the intended audiences of historical works, and the methods employed by historians. This chapter also explicitly rejects the arbitrary division between Sunni and Shi‘i historical works.
This chapter surveys recent scholarship in Muslim historiography and offers a new model for examining early Muslim historical works that draws on Late Antiquity. It also engages questions of audience and genre pertaining to Islamic historical writing.
The present article argues that rather than look for a traditional Jewish model behind Mark's passion narrative (such as an account of the Suffering Righteous One), we would do better to understand the composition of the whole gospel – both the central body of teaching in 8.22–10.45 and the passion narrative – as influenced by the genre of ancient philosophical lives. After considering ways in which biographies tended to present the deaths of philosophers, the article examines the death of the Markan Jesus as an example of a shameful, humiliating end. What redeems it for Mark is the fact that Jesus dies in perfect conformity with his teaching. The carefully composed central section of teaching material (8.22–10.52), it is argued, was put together by the evangelist with the specific intention of showing that Jesus died in accordance with his teaching. Thus the crucifixion could become the perfect embodiment of Jesus’ counter-cultural message of self-denial and servanthood, and therefore a powerful symbol of its truth.
The Eminent Scholars Archive (ESA) was established to record aspects of the history of the Faculty of Law at Cambridge University. It is based on 28 interviews with scholars and, currently, has 66 hours of audio recordings and transcripts, but also includes over 800 photographs and numerous associated items including biographies, bibliographies, obituaries and eulogies. Entries for faculty members cover the period from WWII to the present, while 13 entries focus on the incumbent Goodhart Visiting Professor of Legal Science. The archive is a rich source of information for researching aspects of legal communities, and in this contribution I focus on three aspects: personal histories of scholars, faculty history, and more socially-broad topics. In the first category I seek to show how the ESA identifies crossroads in the personal legal journeys of professors Higgins, Baker, Smith and Crawford, while I use their common remembrances to record an institutional landmark. For the latter, I selected the 1995 Faculty move from the Old Schools to the Foster building on the Sidgwick site. Finally, I show how ESA illustrates components of legal life writing in a broader societal context. Here I compare the experiences of curators of family histories at the British Library, and ‘group biographies’ of court officials as researched at LSE, with aspects of documenting careers of senior legal academics at Cambridge.
Heather Clark reveals the powerful impact of Plath biographers. Splicing the words pathology, biography, and Plath’s name, she coins the term P(l)athographers. Clark helps us to understand their cumulative practice of distortedly mythologizing Plath and misdirecting readers’ interpretations of her writing. For Clark, Plath’s English Tripos exam at Cambridge offers us more understanding of Plath’s poetics than her relationship with her dead father ever could.
Via the first volume of The Letters of Sylvia Plath, Karen Kukil traces the key themes and concerns that preoccupy the writer, providing an intellectual, cultural and personal biography. Thereby, Kukil establishes the key contexts out of which Plath’s poetry and fiction emerge. After the well-documented deletions in Letters Home, and the dissatisfaction many readers felt at a selection that depicted Plath as ceaselessly happy, Kukil views the full and unabridged letters as akin to a full-length colour film after a black and white short.