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Martin, J. (1986). Introspection in Biography. The Biographer's Quest for Self-Awareness: Edited by Samuel H. Baron & Carl Pletsch. Hillsdale. New Jersey and London: The Analytic Press. 1985. Pp. x + 367.. Int. R. Psycho-Anal., 13:493-496.

(1986). International Review of Psycho-Analysis, 13:493-496

Introspection in Biography. The Biographer's Quest for Self-Awareness: Edited by Samuel H. Baron & Carl Pletsch. Hillsdale. New Jersey and London: The Analytic Press. 1985. Pp. x + 367.

Review by:
Jay Martin

In recent years, biographical composition has increasingly become the subject of popular approbation and critical scrutiny. Within the last two decades, biography has become the most popular of non-fiction narrative forms; indeed, most popular novels in recent years have been written in the form of biography, the history of the main character's life.

The nineteen-seventies saw the beginnings of interest in the theory and practice of biography, beginning with James L. Clifford's From Puzzles to Portraits: Problems of a Literary Biographer (1971); continuing through Marc Pachter's Telling Lives (1979), which contains the self-reflections of several contemporary biographers; and, in the eighties, blossoming into Dennis W. Petrie's Ultimately Fiction: Design in Modern American Literary Biography (1981), Ira Bruce Nadel's Biography: Fiction, Fact and Form (1984), and Leon Edel's Writing Lives: Principia Biographica (1985). Of course, at the same time, literary and historical scholars have produced an enormous number of excellent biographies.

Psychoanalysts too have long been interested in biographical studies. We should hardly wonder at the causes of this, since biography formed one branch of the varied human investigations which influenced Freud in his creation of psychoanalysis. From the first, Freud was interested in the construction of the personality, and his method of investigation, as exhibited in his clinical cases and theoretical writings, put heavy emphasis on the process of reconstruction of lives.

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