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Chapter 1 - Plutarch and Biography

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 June 2023

Frances B. Titchener
Affiliation:
Utah State University
Alexei V. Zadorojnyi
Affiliation:
University of Liverpool
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Summary

Plutarch’s biographies often – not always – come close to modern expectations of a “biography,” so much so that it is easy to lose track of how many choices he had to make and how many alternative paths he might have chosen. This chapter compares those choices with those made by other ancient life-writers and measures them against “ten rules for biography” outlined for modern authors by Hermione Lee: (1) The story should be true. (2) The story should cover the whole life. (3) Nothing should be omitted or concealed. (4) All sources used should be identified. (5) The biographer should know the subject. (6) The biographer should be objective. (7) Biography is a form of history. (8) Biography is an investigation of identity. (9) The story should have some value for the reader. (10) There are no rules for biography.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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