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Virginia Woolf's Nose:
Essays on Biography
Hermione Lee

Book Description | Table of Contents
Chapter 1 [in PDF format]


"The four essays are the equivalent of listening to a smart, kind and personable professor holding forth on her favorite subject. . . . These essays are everywhere informed by the fact that Lee is such an accomplished biographer, a writer who knows the ropes."--Julia Keller, Chicago Tribune

"For proof of Hermione Lee's expertise in biography (or, to use the technical term, 'life-writing'), one need only consider her massive and important Virginia Woolf. [There] is a lot to like about this book: for reminding us that Woolf herself was no apologist for the ceremony of death, which she studiously avoids in her fictions; ... and, for writing an accessible and literate treatment of life-writing. For this and for de-mystifying the genre for a post-modern audience, we can thank Hermione Lee."--Karen Levenback, Virginia Woolf Miscellany


"This book shows why Hermione Lee is a star among British biographers. Generous, witty, provocative, and blissfully free of academic jargon, it takes us into the heart of the current debate about the nature and value of life writing. Lee's meticulous readings constantly give rise to the largest, most challenging questions about the genre. Playful but always wonderfully erudite, this is a superb collection that will prove immensely influential."--Richard Holmes, author of Shelley: The Pursuit

"Hermione Lee, a biographer justly noted for her scrupulous erudition, tact, and grace of expression, is expert at sifting the telling, resonant detail from the litter of evidence that might overwhelm less observant and meticulous minds. These concise and witty essays enrich our understanding of what, either by necessity or choice, may go into and what may be left out of the writing of any life. Yet even when warning us of how much is missing or guessed at in any biography, Lee doesn't let much worth knowing get by her."--Maria DiBattista, Princeton University

"Lee has the rare ability to combine scrupulously careful scholarship with writing that is clear, imaginative, witty, and simply a delight to read. In these wide-ranging essays on various aspects of "life-writing," she takes readers behind the scenes of the biographical process, reflecting on the inevitable gaps and absences of evidence, on the human need for stories, on the film of The Hours, on death--as the end of a life and the end of a Life--with singular brilliance and insight."--Jean Strouse, Director, Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library

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File created: 4/21/2017

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