Biofiction and Writers’ Afterlives
The twelve essays collected in this work explore the afterlives of nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers in biographical fiction, or biofiction, and its sister genre, the biopic. The essays situate these genres in relation to their generic, cultural, and ideological contexts, and are organised into four groups. The first locates the origins of biofiction in the historical novel, and in Modernist experiments in life writing, while the second consists of case studies of biofiction about writers from the long nineteenth century: Charlotte Brontë, Henry James, Constance Fenimore Woolson, and Rupert Brooke. A guest essay by novelist Maggie Gee opens the third group, which analyses the fertile sub-genre of biographical novels about Woolf, while the fourth and final part of the book concerns the related genre of the biopic.
The volume is comprised entirely of original commissions, whose authors include postgraduate students, practitioners and specialists in biographical writing. It will appeal to undergraduates and postgraduates on life writing and contemporary literature modules, as well as fans of the featured biographical novelists and their subjects.
Dr Bethany Layne is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at De Montfort University, UK. She has published widely on biographical fiction, in journals including The Henry James Review, Woolf Studies Annual, and Adaptation, and her interviews with David Lodge, Colm Tóibín and Susan Sellers appear in Conversations with Biographical Novelists: Truthful Fictions Across the Globe (2019). She pioneered the first specialist biofiction module in the UK, and organised a related conference, “Postmodernist Biofiction”, at the University of Reading, UK, in 2017. She is the author of the book Henry James in Contemporary Fiction: The Real Thing (2020). In addition to biofiction and James, her research interests include adaptive and appropriative literature, and the works of Virginia Woolf and Sylvia Plath.
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