Professor Caitríona Ní Dhúill (Department of German) has published a new monograph

School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Professor Caitríona Ní Dhúill (Department of German) has just published a new monograph, Metabiography: Reflecting on Biography (Palgrave Macmillan), part of the Palgrave Studies in Life Writing series (general editors Clare Brant and Max Saunders, Centre for Life Writing Research, King's College London). Metabiography reflects on the contradictions of biography and argues for new approaches to the genre. It shows how discussions of metafiction (Ansgar Nünning, Patricia Waugh) and metahistory (Hayden White) can be re-invigorated and re-oriented with reference to biography.

The book charts shifting approaches to the writing and reading of biographies, from post-hagiographical attitudes of the Enlightenment, heroic biographies of Romanticism and irreverent modernist portraits through to contemporary experiments in politically committed and hybrid forms of life writing. Through detailed analyses of biographies and writings on biography from Samuel Johnson, Thomas Carlyle, the Bloomsbury modernists, their German contemporaries, through to contemporary biographers, memoirists and authors of biofiction in German and English, Ní Dhúill shows how biographies can destabilise the models of historical visibility, cultural prominence and narrative coherence that the genre itself seems to uphold.

Addressing the fraught relationships between genre and gender, private and public, image and text, life and narrative that play out in the modern biographical tradition, Metabiography suggests new possibilities for reading, writing and thinking about this enduringly popular genre. - Professor Ní Dhúill's work is part of an emerging cluster of research into life writing, auto/biography and forms of self- and other-inscription within the Department of German, the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, and CASiLaC.

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