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By Catherine M. Soussloff

This is often the 1st ebook to research the artist's biography as a rhetorical shape and literary style instead of as an unassailable resource of truth and data.

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These expectations have to do with the representation and location of the real and with the social contract that the genre of the biography embodies for our culture. For, in our historical reality as readers, expectations are the counterparts to generic conventions. The Social Context of the Form It is well to begin here with the term biography, which contains within it two Greek roots: bios, meaning a human course of life or manner of living distinct to human society; and graphos, meaning writing or written.

This is a major difference between the generic structure of biography and autobiographical genres, where the individuals represented can impose themselves more directly into the manipulation of conventions. In the case of the artist, an account of the life in chronological order On the Threshold of Historiography I 33 is interwoven with descriptions of the works and the body and character of the artist, along with subjects attendant on the production of the works of art, such as the artist's schooling, his patronage by men of wealth, power, and status in the society, and his technical skills.

We can therefore assume that embodied within the heroic artist are aspects of an unconventional heroism. Indeed, it is precisely this sort of unconventional cultural hero that we often encounter in contemporary representations of the artist. Here is an acute example of the relationship of the content of the form to our understanding of the concept "artist" today. These assumptions about On the Threshold of Historiography I 41 the artist inherent in the form, biography, adhere in history writing too, as the following chapters demonstrate.

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Absolute Artist. The Historiography of a Concept by Catherine M. Soussloff


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