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The Life of William Faulkner,  volume 1: The Past is Never Dead; volume 2: This Alarming Paradox


William Faulkner emerged from the ravaged South--half backwoods, half defeated empire--transforming his corner of Mississippi into the fictional Yoknapatawpha County and bestowing on the world some of the most revolutionary and enduring literature of the 20th century. The personal story behind the work has fascinated readers nearly as much as the great novels, but Faulkner has remained elusive despite numerous biographies that have attempted to decipher his private life and his wild genius. In an ambitious biography that will encompass two volumes, Carl Rollyson has created a life of Faulkner for the new millennium.


Rollyson has drawn on an unprecedented amount of material to present the richest rendering of Faulkner yet published. In addition to his own extensive interviews, Rollyson consults the complete--and never fully shared--research of pioneering Faulkner biographer Joseph Blotner, who discarded from his authorized biography substantial findings in order to protect the Faulkner family. Rollyson also had unrivaled access to the work of Carvel Collins, whose decades-long inquiry produced one of the greatest troves of primary source material in American letters.


This first volume follows Faulkner from his formative years through his introduction to Hollywood. Rollyson sheds light on Faulkner's unpromising, even bewildering youth, including a gift for tall tales that blossomed into the greatest of literary creativity. He provides the fullest portrait yet of Faulkner's family life,  in particular his enigmatic marriage, and offers invaluable new insight into the ways in which Faulkner's long career as a screenwriter informed his iconic novels.


Integrating Faulkner's screenplays, fiction, and life, Rollyson argues that the novelist deserves to be reread not just as a literary figure but as a still-relevant force, especially in relation to issues of race, sexuality, and equality. The culmination of years of research in archives that have been largely ignored by previous biographers, The Life of William Faulkner offers a significant challenge and an essential contribution to Faulkner scholarship.


By the end of volume 1 of The Life of William Faulkner ("A filling, satisfying feast for Faulkner aficianados"— Kirkus), the young Faulkner had gone from an unpromising, self-mythologizing bohemian to the author of some of the most innovative and enduring literature of the century, including The Sound and the Fury and Light in August. The second and concluding volume of Carl Rollyson's ambitious biography finds Faulkner lamenting the many threats to his creative existence. Feeling, as an artist, he should be above worldly concerns and even morality, he has instead inherited only debts—a symptom of the South's faded fortunes—and numerous mouths to feed and funerals to fund. And so he turns to the classic temptation for financially struggling writers—Hollywood.


Thus begins roughly a decade of shuttling between his home and family in Mississippi—lifeblood of his art—and the backlots of the Golden Age film industry. Through Faulkner's Hollywood years, Rollyson introduces such personalities as Humphrey Bogart and Faulkner's long-time collaborator Howard Hawks, while telling the stories behind films such as The Big Sleep and To Have and Have Not. At the same time, he chronicles with great insight Faulkner's rapidly crumbling though somehow resilient marriage and his numerous extramarital affairs--including his deeply felt, if ultimately doomed, relationship with Meta Carpenter. (In his grief over their breakup, Faulkner—a dipsomaniac capable of ferocious alcoholic binges—received third-degree burns when he passed out on a hotel-room radiator.)


Where most biographers and critics dismiss Faulkner's film work as at best a necessary evil, at worst a tragic waste of his peak creative years, Rollyson approaches this period as a valuable window on his artistry. He reveals a fascinating, previously unappreciated cross-pollination between Faulkner's film and literary work, elements from his fiction appearing in his screenplays and his film collaborations influencing his later novels—fundamentally changing the character of late-career works such as the Snopes trilogy.

Rollyson takes the reader on a fascinating journey through the composition of Absalom, Absalom!, widely considered Faulkner's masterpiece, as well as the film adaptation he authored—unproduced and never published— Revolt in the Earth. He reveals how Faulkner wrestled with the legacy of the South—both its history and its dizzying racial contradictions—and turned it into powerful art in works such as Go Down, Moses and Intruder in the Dust.


Volume 2 of this monumental work rests on an unprecedented trove of research, giving us the most penetrating and comprehensive life of Faulkner and providing a fascinating look at the author's trajectory from under-appreciated "writer's writer" to world-renowned Nobel laureate and literary icon. In his famous Nobel speech, Faulkner said what inspired him was the human ability to prevail. In the end, this beautifully wrought life shows how Faulkner, the man and the artist, embodies this remarkable capacity to endure and prevail.

Lives of the Novelists

Faulkner, Kafka, James, Twain, Proust, Austen, Highsmith, Oates, and Welty among other major author biographies receive penetrating and lively discussions through the work of their biographers.

Understanding Susan Sontag

With the publication of Susan Sontag's diaries, the development of her career can now be evaluated in a more genetic sense, so that the origins of her ideas and plans for publication are made plain in the context of her role as a public intellectual, who is increasingly aware of her impact on her culture. In Understanding Susan Sontag, Carl Rollyson not only provides an introduction to her essays, novels, plays, films, diaries, and uncollected work published in various periodicals, he now has a lens through which to reevaluate classic texts such as Against Interpretation and On Photography, providing both students and advanced scholars a renewed sense of her importance and impact.
Rollyson devotes separate chapters to Sontag’s biography; her early novels; her landmark essay collections Against Interpretation and Styles of Radical Will; her films; her major mid-career books, On Photography and its sequel, Regarding the Pain of Others; and Illness as Metaphor and its sequel, AIDS and Its Metaphors, together with her groundbreaking short story, “The Way We Live Now.” Sontag’s later essay collections and biographical profiles, collected in Under the Sign of Saturn, Where the Stress Falls, and At The Same Time: Essays and Speeches, also receive a fresh assessment, as does her later work in short fiction, the novel, and drama, with a chapter discussing I, etcetera; two historical novels, The Volcano Lover and In America; and her plays, A Parsifal, Alice in Bed, and her adaptation of Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea. Chapters on her diaries and uncollected prose, along with a primary and secondary bibliography, complete this comprehensive study.

Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon, revised and updated

This first biography of Susan Sontag (1933–2004) is now fully revised and updated, providing an even more intimate portrayal of the influential writer’s life and career. The authors base this revision on Sontag’s newly released private correspondence, including emails, and the letters and memoirs of those who knew her best.

Confessions of a Serial Biographer

My 35 years as a biographer in one book

A Private Life of Michael Foot

A Private Life of Michael Footadopts a no holds barred approach to biography, leaving a political figure stripped bare, and revealing a deeply complex, introverted man for all to see.
In A Private Life of Michael Foot, I talk with Michael about his friend, the cartoonist, Vicky, whose work was proudly displayed on a wall in Michael's Pilgrims Lane home.

A Real American Character: The Life of Walter Brennan

The first biography of the prodigiously hard-working actor who embodied the Western ideal

Walter Brennan (1894–1974) was one of the greatest character actors in Hollywood history. He won three Academy Awards and became a national icon starring as Grandpa in The Real McCoys. He appeared in over two hundred motion pictures and became the subject of a Norman Rockwell painting, which celebrated the actor’s unique role as the voice of the American Western. His life journey from Swampscott, Massachusetts, to Hollywood, to a twelve-thousand-acre cattle ranch in Joseph, Oregon, is one of the great American stories.

Marilyn Monroe: Day by Day

A documentary approach to the life and legend. With details of her childhood, her young adult years, her ascent to superstardom, and the hour by hour moments leading to her tragic early death, this volume supplements—and, in some cases, corrects—the accounts of previous biographies.

Amy Lowell Anew: A Biography

A riveting examination of Amy Lowell’s private life and lover, Ada Russell, who did so much to make Lowell’s career possible. The startling discovery of a new Amy Lowell lover who perished on the Lusitania. A compelling window into Lowell’s gregarious character. Concise readings of Lowell’s most important poems reveal the depth and range of her erotic imagination. An astute analysis of the way biographers and critics have maligned Lowell as a person and poet.

Amy Lowell Among Her Contemporaries

An alternative title for this volume might be “Justice to Amy Lowell.” Although she has been the subject of several biographies, her image and reputation seemed fixed in the biographies and memoirs of others. As a result, Lowell appears almost exclusively through the perceptions of her male biographers and their subjects. A tempting target—as I explain in “The Absence of Amy Lowell”--she is often skewered, or at the very least distorted by insensitive writers who never seem to pause and question the stories about her. In this series of essays, beginning with a look at how her own biographers have behaved, I have tried to re-conceive the familiar anecdotes and episodes, circling back again and again to certain incidents and contretemps, as the point of view shifts from one writer to another. As a kind of coda to my quarrel with biographers is an essay, “Remembering Amy Lowell,” in which I assess the varying degrees to which the memoirs of her present a credible person and poet. I have not paused to define in any great detail terms such as Imagism, although I’ve included an essay on the Imagists in an appendix as well as the full texts of the poems discussed in this book. These appendices provide a context for the discussion of Lowell and her contemporaries and serve, I hope, as an inviting introduction to her work.

Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews

A biography of the great film noir actor

Hollywood Enigma: Dana Andrews

A biography of the great noir actor who perfected the male mask of steely impassivity
Dana Andrews (1909–1992) worked with distinguished directors such as John Ford, Lewis Milestone, Otto Preminger, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, William A. Wellman, Mervyn Le Roy, Jean Renoir, and Elia Kazan. He played romantic leads alongside the great beauties of the modern screen, including Joan Crawford, Elizabeth Taylor, Greer Garson, Merle Oberon, Linda Darnell, Susan Hayward, Maureen O’Hara, and most important of all, Gene Tierney, with whom he shared five films. Retrospectives of his work often elicit high praise for an underrated actor, a master of the minimalist style. His image personified the “male mask” of the 1940s in classic films such as Laura, Fallen Angel, and Where the Sidewalk Ends, in which he played the “masculine ideal of steely impassivity.” No comprehensive discussion of film noir can neglect his performances. He was an “actor’s actor.”
            Here at last is the complete story of a great actor, his difficult struggle to overcome alcoholism while enjoying the accolades of his contemporaries, a successful term as president of the Screen Actors Guild, and the love of family and friends that never deserted him. Based on diaries, letters, home movies, and other documents, this biography explores the mystery of a poor boy from Texas who made his Hollywood dream come true even as he sought a life apart from the limelight and the backbiting of contemporaries jockeying for prizes and prestige. Called “one of nature’s noblemen” by his fellow actor Norman Lloyd, Dana Andrews emerges from Hollywood Enigma as an admirable American success story, fighting his inner demons and ultimately winning.

American Isis: The Life and Art of Sylvia Plath

Here, at last, is the true story of Sylvia Plath's last days and her estate's efforts to shape her husband's role in her death and the world's understanding of Plath and her work. Here, too, is a new Sylvia Plath, immersed in popular culture and proto-feminism, presaging the way we live now.

I wrote this biography because there were aspects of Sylvia Plath that other biographers have overlooked or misunderstood. But as I wrote I re-read my predecessors. I checked to see how others had handled the same material. I think my practice in doing so is worth mentioning because I have dispensed with a good deal of the boilerplate that most biographers feel compelled to supply. I say little, for example, about the backgrounds of Plath’s parents. I don’t describe much of Smith College or its history. I do very little scene setting. Previous biographers do all this and more, and what strikes me about their work is how distracting all that background is for someone wishing to have a vision of Sylvia Plath, of what she was like and what she stood for. To put it another way, since earlier biographers have done so much to contextualize Plath, I have not wanted to repeat that exercise, as valuable as it can be for the Plath novice. Instead, I have concentrated on the intensity of the person who was Sylvia Plath, restricting my discussion of her writing only to the truly crucial pieces that advance my narrative. I have tried to write a narrative so focused that a reader new to Plath biography may feel some of the exhilaration and despair that marked the poet’s life.
Appearing in the spring of 2014

Marilyn Monroe: A Life of the Actress

In American popular culture Marilyn Monroe has evolved in stature from Hollywood sex symbol to tragic legend. Most books about Monroe stress the sensational events that surrounded her-this book is the first to deal honestly and critically with Monroe as an actress, evaluating her moves as crucial forces in the shaping of her identity. Through careful examination of her performances, from her small appearances in The Asphalt Jungle and All About Eve to her memorable roles in Bus Stop, Some Like It Hot, and the The Misfits, the author traces her development from cover girl innocent to an actress devoted to her craft. Based on extensive interviews with many of Monroe's colleagues, close friends, and mentors, this comprehensive, critically balanced study describes her use of Method acting as well as her instruction with Michael Chekhov and, later, the Strasbergs. Carl Rollyson has written a refreshing analysis and appreciation of Marilyn Monroe's enduring and, until now, underestimated gifts as a creative artist.

Lillian Hellman: Her Life and Legend

Through diaries, letters, government files, and interviews Carl Rollyson draws a vital and vibrant portrait of the life, the work, and the legend of Lillian Hellman, America's most controversial radical playwright. Rollyson explores the sources and backgrounds of her best-selling memoirs, the development of her politics, her successful screenwriting career, and her famous appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. He provides entertaining and informative accounts of her feud with Mary McCarthy, her many love affairs and surprising friendships. He also provides a provocative and compelling portrayal of this complex and brilliant woman, who was called everything from a "viper", "a goddam liar" to "an empathetic genius with a highly original and penetrating mind." Near death, Hellman spoke of being blocked; this biography will show what got in her way.

Beautiful Exile: The Life of Martha Gellhorn

Martha Gellhorn died in February 1998, just shy of her 90th birthday. Well before her death, she had become a legend. She reported on wars from Spain in the 1930s to Panama in the 1980s, and her travel books have become classics. Her marriage to Ernest Hemingway and affairs with legendary lovers like H. G. Wells, and her relationship with two presidents, Roosevelt and Kennedy, reflect her campaigns against tyranny and deprivation, and her outrage at the corruption and cruelty of modern governments. This controversial and acclaimed biography portrays a vibrant and troubled woman who never tired of fighting for causes she considered just.

Ever since she took American culture by storm with the publication of her Notes on Camp in 1964, Susan Sontag has been a star. Her austere glamour has been a critical factor in her success, making her a role model for intellectual women, a sex symbol for brainy men.

She has never ceased to fascinate the public: as brilliant wunderkind, bringing the latest in French thought to America; as sophisticated analyst of her own experience with cancer in Illness as Metaphor; as champion of free speech in the Rushdie Affair; as theater director in besieged Sarajevo; and, with the publication of The Volcano Lover, as best-selling historical novelist. Yet she has both courted that fascination and insisted on holding it at a distance, demanding control over her public image.

This first -- and most definitely unauthorized -- biography delves beneath the surface to examine the forces that made Susan Sontag an international icon. Carl Rollyson and Lisa Paddock explore her public persona and private passions, including the strategies behind her meteoric rise to fame and her political moves and missteps. Above all, they show how the life of Susan Sontag reveals to us the way we live now.

Reading Susan Sontag

The first book to survey the broad range of Sontag's work, including full discussions of her fiction, nonfiction prose, plays, and interviews.

"Reading Carl Rollyson's reading Susan Sontag is like reading Susan Sontag through a prism of a clear and articulate sensibility. One can ask for no better guidebook to an appreciation and understanding of a major American public intellectual and literary figure." --M. Thomas Inge, Blackwell Professor of English and Humanities, Randolf-Macon College

Female Icons: Marilyn Monroe to Susan Sontag

This volume represents more than twenty-five years of writing about female icons and biography. Rollyson provides the bits and pieces that resulted not only in his biography of Marilyn Monroe but also in much of the work he has subsequently done on Lillian Hellman, Martha Gellhorn, Rebecca West, Susan Sontag, and on the nature of biography itself.

This book includes a selection of Rollyson's New York Sun book reviews dealing with female icons such as Mary Stuart, Mary Wollstonecraft, The Brontës, Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, Zelda Fitzgerald, and Sylvia Plath. Rollyson's writing about icons has provoked him to question the process by which selves are defined. Discovering the shaping mechanisms of the self is simultaneously a way of understanding how biographies are built.

In the end, this book should be of interest not merely to devotees of Monroe, Sontag, and other icons but also to anyone curious about the nature of biography and the biographer.

Rebecca West: A Modern Sibyl

What is new in this second edition of Carl Rollyson's standard biography? It begins with a portrait that attempts to evoke the living person in all her dimensions. It concludes with an interview with one of her favorite secretaries, Elizabeth Leyshon, who eluded him in the 1990s but provided new insights into her employer's character for this book. The biography's new title emphasizes that Rebecca West was a prophet-one not always appreciated in her own day. As early as 1917, she understood where the world was headed and realized that the revolution in Russia held out false hope. Because she took this view as a socialist, those on the left scorned her as an apostate, whereas she understood that Communism would result in a disaster for the British left. Readers wishing to gauge the range of West's fiction and nonfiction should read Woman as Artist and Thinker, published by iUniverse. Rollyson has read his words anew, sharpening sentences, omitting words and paragraphs-sometimes entire sections-in order to provide a refreshing, more engaging, and spirited account of one of the world's major writers.

The Literary Legacy of Rebecca West is the first book to explore the entire corpus of her extraordinary seventy-one year writing career. The general introductory studies of West are outdated and do not take into account her posthumous publications, or her large literary archive of unpublished letters and manuscripts. Previous scholarly books have chopped West up into categories and genres instead of following the evolution of her career. Rollyson, author of Rebecca West: A Saga of the Century, draws on new scholarship and his interviews with West's contemporaries to provide the first organic account of her esthetic and political vision.

Rebecca West and the God That Failed: Essays

After completing his biography of Rebecca West in 1995, Carl Rollyson felt bereft. As his wife said, “Rebecca was such good company.” He had already embarked on another biography, but Rebecca kept beckoning him. He felt there was more to say about her politics—a misunderstood part of her repertoire as reporter and novelist. And had he done justice to her enormous sense of fun and humor? He regretted excising the portrait of her he wanted to put at the beginning of his biography. His editor kept cutting away at what he called Rollyson’s doorstop of a book. And then after years of waiting, Rollyson received her FBI file. He kept running into Rebecca, so to speak, when he was working on his biographies of Martha Gellhorn and Jill Craigie. Interviews in London often turned up people who had known West as well.

Thus piece by piece, Rollyson accumulated what is now another book about Rebecca West. This new collection tells the story of how his biography got written, of what it means to think like a biographer, and why West's vision remains relevant. She is one of the great personalities and writers of the modern age, and one that we are just beginning to comprehend.

To Be A Woman: The Life of Jill Craigie

Jill Craigie-filmmaker, writer, pioneering feminist and devoted wife to former Labour Leader Michael Foot-led an extraordinary life. Strikingly attractive, fiercely independent and politically radical, Craigie established a reputation as a filmmaker with her 1944 film, Out of Chaos, becoming the first female director to gain national attention. Talented and versatile, she wrote several film scripts, numerous articles, radio plays, and successful columns, but she always struggled as a woman and a socialist in a male-dominated, conservative industry. Her fifty-year marriage to Michael Foot, the love of her life, involved her in politics at the highest level. The couple's mutual interest in literature and the arts made their Hampstead house a meeting place for artists, writers, actors, and politicians alike. Carl Rollyson has created an intimate and honest portrait of this charismatic figure, who never ceased to push the boundaries of what it meant to be a twentieth-century woman.

Carl Rollyson was Norman Mailer's first literary biographer to draw on unpublished letters and manuscripts as well as on interviews with the writer's friends and foes. Rollyson provides a full account of Mailer's college years, especially his fear of being drafted. Here are the sources of Mailer's mental crisis in the 1950s that led to the stabbing of his second wife, Adele. Norman Mailer: The Last Romantic gets at the sources of Mailer's obsession with violence while also portraying a major literary figure in the making, from his fabulous debut war novel, The Naked and the Dead to his final bid for literary fame, The Castle in the Forest, a brooding foray into 20th century evil via an account of Adolf Hitler's early life. A final chapter rounds out a penetrating account of Mailer's final two decades of productivity which yielded books as various as a controversial biography of Picasso and a philosophical dialogue on the nature of God.

Essays in Biography

Pieces about the history of the genre and in portrayals of biographers (Plutarch, Leon Edel, and W. A. Swanberg), literary figures (Lillian Hellman, Jack London), philosophers and critics (Leo Strauss and Hippolyte Taine), political figures (Winston Churchill and Napoleon), and artists (Rembrandt and Rubens).

Reading Biography

"Carl Rollyson reads biographies. He writes biographies. He writes about reading biographies. He writes about writing biographies. Writers are the subject of many of the biographies he reads and writes. Whew! Add up this reading and writing and you arrive at a sum of literary arithmetic called “On Biography,” Rollyson’s regular column for The New York Sun. Part book review, part essay, always timely and interesting, “On Biography” covers biography’s subjects and the subject of biography in a two-for-one deal. Reading Biography is Rollyson’s first collection of these essays, which he began writing in Spring 2003.

Emerson wrote that “There is properly no history; only biography.” Disraeli: “Read no history; nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.” Carlyle: “History is the essence of innumerable biographies.” Rollyson knew he was onto something when he took up the subject of biography. But why biography now? “Historians distrust biography,” Rollyson writes in a review of two books on Stalin. “Modern historiography has rejected Thomas Carlyle’s ‘Great Man’ theory of history in favor of complex explorations of historical process, of the forces and factors that shape the world regardless of its individual players.” True enough, but social history doesn’t exactly lend itself to page-turner reading, and increasingly it is biographers who have taken up the slack of writing accessible history. Rollyson settles on a quote from Louis Fischer to best describe his interest: “Biography is history seen through the prism of a person.”

As a biographer himself, Rollyson has more than a few ideas about its mechanics. He writes of Michael Barber’s Anthony Powell: A Life, for example:

I like the feel of Mr. Barber’s book, and the sense that he is aware of how to manage his own narrative. Thus he writes: “This is probably the place to summarise Powell’s athletic record at Eton.” Rarely does he succumb to the bane of biography, the “must have been” and the “reasonable to suppose,” which are no more than oblique confessions of ignorance.

With more than a concern for tricks of the trade, Rollyson clues us into becoming—if not better writers—better readers of biography. Reading Biography has a production value that can best be described as “cut-and-paste.” The upside is that it contains reviews that are still quite timely—covering many of the same books reviewed recently in these pages." --James Panero, New Criterion, March 2005

American Biography

This collection of reviews, selected from Rollyson’s New York Sun column, is as much about the romance of biography as it is about the American lives. Certain concerns resonate throughout the book: the American left’s failure to reckon with Communist subversion, McCarthyism, and Stalinism, the problematic nature of authorized biography, the history of American biography, definitive biographies, literary biography, the differences between autobiography and biography, the importance of interviews in biographies of contemporary figures, the differences between history and biography, comparative biographies, the virtues of short biographies and of biographies for children, the tendency of biographers to fictionalize and of novelists to biographize, psychology and biography, Rollyson’s own experience as a biographer, and the way biographers treat one another’s work. Too many biographers, he believes, evince no interest in the biographical tradition. Concerned only with possession of their subjects, their proprietorial attitude deforms not only their biographies but also the genre itself. If biography is reviewed badly (receiving hardly more than a summary of the subject’s life with a perfunctory nod to the biographer), it is because the biographical tradition has been disregarded or discounted. This book, in other words, has been written on the behalf of biography, a genre that still awaits a full vindication.

A Higher Form of Cannibalism? Adventures in the Art and Politics of Biography

A candid and revealing account, by an expert in the minefield of the biographer’s contentious work. I’ve been writing lives for thirty years and learned a lot from it. (Jeffrey Meyers )

Carl Rollyson is not only the author of several accomplished biographies of major American cultural figures, he is also a discerning critic of the art of life writing. These witty and wise essays help explain some of the reasons we find biographies such compelling and engaging reading, especially in the area of conflict between the interests of the biographer and the rights of the resistant subject. Boswell would be delighted. (M. Thomas Inge )

A first rate and successful biographer himself, Carl Rollyson here takes us along on an audacious and daring tour...of the art and craft of biography, past and present (and always bravely personal).... Bright, witty, persuasive, this is a book worthy of our best attention. (George Garrett )

Speaking as a biographer, I wish Carl Rollyson had shown a touch more restraint when exposing certain details about our profession. But as a reader… Oh, dear, I must confess to lapping up every single one of his stories and wanting more. ...A witty, informative, and hugely entertaining book that is chock-full of food for thought, especially if one happens to be a biographer. (Marion Meade )

This book does an excellent job of illuminating the process and criticism of this popular form of writing. (Peter Terry Foreword Reviews )

Carl Rollyson...is in the perfect position to provide an insider's perspective on the subject he knows best. (Bookwatch )

The greatest virtue of A Higher Form of Cannibalism...is in its honesty. (Martin Simpson Salem Press Online )

Rollyson’s discussion of writing and evaluating biography is revealing and stimulating, making this a good read. (J.J. Benardete, New School University CHOICE )

The book is so uninhibited...that most readers will find plenty to...admire. (Mark A. Heberle Claremont Review Of Books )

Biography: A User's Guide

Carl Rollyson's Biography: A User's Guide is an informative and entertaining text for those interested in biography. No aspect of the genre, from A to Z, goes uncovered: issues around authorized and unauthorized biography, censorship, libel, fair use, public domain (referred to as "PD" by publishers and editors), and a great deal more-including examples drawn from published biographies, as well as general and specific assessments of the biographer's art. Mr. Rollyson demonstrates that biography has more dimensions than are generally gleaned from book reviews and academic discourse. In a lively and provocative style, he argues with other biographers and critics, avoiding the polite and vague tones of many reference books on the subject.