Popular Department Historical Biographies
In this article, I will briefly introduce the concept of an historical biography, and then describe some of the more popular and interesting examples. Autobiographies are the most popular type of historical biography because they are lengthy and often span an entire life. Other biographies cover a short period of time or the life of a person who was famous in his or her own right, such as Samuel Johnson or Einhard. Depending on the genre, historical biographies can include people who have never received recognition.
Autobiographies span an entire life
While many Department Historical Biographies focus on a single person, there are also a number of biographies that cover the whole life of an individual. While a chronological biography is written from the earliest days of life to the time of death, autobiographies can also focus on themes, specific accomplishments, or events. Whether a person lived in a colonial town or lived in a cosmopolitan city, an autobiography will reveal the person's life and experiences from birth through death.
A biographer's task is to provide a comprehensive account of the life of a person. Good biographies conduct extensive research and analyze the details of an individual's life. The authors can also focus on the importance of a person's achievements and place them in a larger context. A good biography is often a work of creative non-fiction that captures a life's story in the most accurate and readable way.
Routledge Historical Biographies
These short introductions to key historical figures are written by history experts and are ideal for students just starting their course or revising before an exam. They're not academic books that will turn history students off, but rather engaging, affordable books for history buffs. Karl Marx has been portrayed as everything from a political prophet to a totalitarian Anti-Christ, but this new biography aims to get beneath the stereotypes and uncover the man's true character.
Einhard's The Life of Charlemagne
For anyone interested in the life of Charlemagne, a good biography would be Vita Karoli Magni by Albert Einhard. This work is a superb introduction to the man and his era. The author combines scholarly research and personal experiences to tell the story of the greatest emperor in history. Inviting readers to explore the life of the great magnate, Einhard shows us how he ruled throughout his long life.
Despite the personal nature of the book, Einhard's Vita Karoli Magni is a valuable and well-written account of Charlemagne's life. He bases his book on his 23 years of service to the emperor and his research of the royal annals. The book is intended to convey Einhard's gratitude to Charlemagne. Other biographers who have contributed to the history of the medieval era include Theodulf, who wrote the Libri Carolini at the emperor's request. John Scotus Erigena also wrote a biography of the emperor.
While Einhard's biography is a valuable work, it is not without bias. In addition to being written as a tribute to the man who ruled for centuries, his work contains some unflattering details of Charlemagne's life and character. While he is undoubtedly biased, his admiration for the man he praised is evident in the way he writes about him. In some ways, it is even more honest than the standard medieval biographies of monarchs.
In his biography of Charlemagne, Notker plays with central elements of Einhard's imperial universality. He makes the Persian envoys' speeches sound like clever gibes. He even turns Charlemagne's boot into a wild beast. Notker has also incorporated some of Einhard's most important ideas about the life of the great magnate, including his recognition of the superiority of the West and a favourable alliance with the fearful Greeks.
The biography of Samuel Johnson will be a major focus of the department's course on English history. Born to a book store owner, Johnson studied under the tutelage of his mother from an early age. His mother was known for her skill in memorizing scripture, and she frequently proudly displayed it to others. Later, Johnson studied Greek and Latin at Lichfield Grammar School. Johnson recalled his teachers as harsh and violent, and defined school as a place of instruction and discipline.
In the years before his death, Johnson published a series of essays in the journal Idler. They continued to be published weekly and were highly readable. They were pirated in their original form, but sold well when collected. Samuel Johnson's Idler was an entertaining sequel to Rambler. Although he suffered from depression, he was often accompanied by his mother as she suffered a stroke, which contributed to his mental state.
Although his education was irregular, Johnson was well qualified to talk about books rather than trade. Then, when his business fell, his debts piled up and he couldn't pay them. Johnson's father died in 1732, leaving him with a meager inheritance and many unpaid debts. Eventually, Johnson was forced to abandon his studies at Oxford University without earning a degree. However, his father's death led to his utterance of a pity-filled letter.
Samuel Johnson, Department Historical Biographies
There are many ways to honor the legacy of Maya Angelou. Her autobiography, Born to Be Black, is a masterpiece of black creativity. Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and went on to become an actress and a poet. Her autobiographies explore themes of oppression and struggle. While some readers may consider her a relic of the past, her legacy is truly alive and well today.
Although she received little formal education, Maya Angelou began to write essays at an early age. She even kept a journal throughout her childhood. Upon moving back to her home state of Arkansas, she married the Greek-American sailor Tosh Angelos. The couple settled down in Los Angeles and had one son, Guy. Around the time Momma died, however, the relationship shattered. Maya Angelou left Guy with his mother, Vivian Angelos, and moved to California to take care of her newborn son.
After gaining national recognition, Angelou worked at numerous universities and colleges throughout her life. She was a professor at Wake Forest University from 1981 to 2004, and she was honored with the Reynolds Professorship of American Studies at the university in 2008. She also received several honorary degrees throughout her life, including the National Medal of Arts. She died on May 28, 2014, at the age of 86. She was a beloved and inspirational speaker and is remembered in many ways.
As an author, Angelou's autobiography is both a memoir and an autobiography. Her early life story, including the struggle to raise a son, Guy, reveals the struggles of being a single mother. Her stage debut in Porgy and Bess, Singin' and Swinging and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, and The Heart of A Woman show her as a mature woman. Her four-year stay in Ghana is depicted in her memoir All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes.