Talks and interviews about the life of biography as experienced by a biographer over forty years and fourteen biographies, dealing with subjects ranging from Sylvia Plath to William Faulkner, Marilyn Monroe to Susan Sontag, and much more.
A wide ranging discussion of Larry Wells’s memories of the Faulkner family, of Faulkner biographers, Joseph Blotner and Carvel Collins, and what it takes to research and write biography, which often feels like a Henry James story.
We discuss the first full-length biography of Jimmy Carter, his achievements and failures, his rise from the bottom third to the top third of U.S. presidents, and much more about what a biography can accomplish.
What to say about the epistemology of biography and why it is sometimes better to not have been there, but to see it all from afar and yet in closeup, as the past is recreated in the biographer’s imagination.
What to do when not all parts of your biographical subject’s life are equal, when the first part of the life seems the most exciting, for example, or when interest only really builds in the last part of the subject’s life.