Available November 5, 2015.

Available November 5, 2015.

“No man truly knows himself, and, certainly, no man really knows another. A biographer’s work is always and every where poetic. That is, the biographer holds the high duty of being humane while also holding faithfully to the facts of his subject’s life. In one instance, the subject fires off a bitter letter, its unrestrained anger bleeding across the written page, embarrassing to the modern reader, but in ninety-nine other instances the subject behaves with saint-like charity. In his early life, the subject might express near anarchist views, but later reject those same views once so preciously possessed. In the final decade of his life, the subject might complain about the place of prominence Israel holds in American foreign policy, though in every other decade of his life had committed himself to being anti-anti-Semitic. The biographer must choose. Does one emphasize the unusual because it is bizarre and, consequently, titillating, or does one focus on the overall picture, thus obviating a vital moment in a person’s life by historicizing it. Does one accept the man as he was at 75 or at 35? Or, does the biographer attempt to piece these things together, fully aware that some evidence of the transition and evolution is simply missing.”

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