Thursday 1 February 2024

Writing a Biography

It was something of a Victorian custom for widows to write biographies of their eminent husbands. Perhaps a biographer’s devotion is a little like the devotion of a spouse. Writing a person’s life means living with them intimately, struggling to understand them, wondering how far they can be trusted, dealing with the ways they resist, annoy, disappoint, challenge and elude you. It means staying with them for their whole life, if not for your own — though such a close encounter with another person is bound to leave you changed, even as you move on.
Clare Carlisle, The Marriage Question: George Eliot's Double Life (London: Penguin Books, 2023), p. 280.