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The Art of Literary Biography$
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John Batchelor

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198182894

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198182894.001.0001

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Women’s Lives: The Unmapped Country

Women’s Lives: The Unmapped Country

(p.87) 6 Women’s Lives: The Unmapped Country
The Art of Literary Biography


Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the biography of lives of women and the biographical challenge when embarking on women's lives. It states the importance of casting into the mystery of existence as alert women experience it; the gaps, uncertainties, and so-called ‘madness’ must be undertaken. It is proposed that what is most distinctive in women's lives is precisely what is most hidden — not only from the glare of fame, but hidden from the daylight aspect which women present for their protection or (as Dickinson suggested) for the protection of those who could not face the ‘Bomb’ in her breast. Then, it must swerve from the public highway to track through what George Eliot called ‘the unmapped country within us’. The emergent women were not flawless, but all the more interesting for the extent to which they struggled and failed and yet contrived to hold to some shape that lurked half-elusive, half-articulated, in the recess of their lives.

Keywords:   biography, woman, life, George Eliot

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