Saturday, March 30, 2013

Want to learn how to write a multi-volume life of a writer?

… Book Review: Melville Biography: An Inside Narrative - (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

… Mr. Parker also believes that critics representing two mighty forces (academia and the New York intellectual world) are bent on destroying the kind of scholarship that he has practiced his whole career. "Despite its immense popularity, literary biography is under attack from subversive interlopers," he writes, and ticks off a literary enemies list of academic critics, mainstream book reviewers and "interpretive" biographers who scorn careful research while favoring their own pet theories and interpretations. In "Melville Biography," he wants to turn the tables on "agenda-driven reviewers" and "recidivist critics" who have written negatively about his own books or who, he believes, have recklessly distorted Melville's life and work. Unusually, he names names—critics like Edmund Wilson, James Wood and Andrew Delbanco and many other prominent intellectuals come in for rough treatment.

Oh, goody. I must read this.

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