Vladimir Nabokov frequently warned of confusing the designer with the design, of mistaking what the writer produces for whom the writer is. From James Baldwin, to Leo Tolstoy, via Virginia Woolf, here are eleven of the best literary biographies that you should know about. Despite his relatively small following, Kafka, Freud and Joyce all claimed to have been influenced by the works of Danish writer Jens Peter Jacobsen. In appropriate Tolstoyan fashion, the book is not a short read. Delving into both the unexplored and the well-known — for example the conversations by Lake Geneva when Byron, Claire Clairmont, Polidori and the Shelleys laid the foundations for Frankenstein — Mary Shelley is a generous and illuminating literary biography.
Biographies for kids: Inventors, World Leaders, Women, Civil Rights
Anne Frank is arguably the author of the single most interesting documentation of the events of World War II. She manages to depict a picture of life in hiding during the time in which unspeakable cruelties and atrocities were inflicted upon the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The diary of Anne provides a marvelously fascinating insight of the events of the world war from the perspective of a teenage Jewish girl. She also had an elder sister — Margot Frank. On her 13th Birthday, 12 June , Anne Frank received what was to become the medium through which she would find a source of comfort and company a month later when she would be forced into hiding. Originally, it was planned that the Franks would go into hiding on 16th July , however, Margot was informed that she would have to go into hiding immediately to avoid being sent to a concentration camp. Almost immediately upon receiving the diary, Anne began to write regularly.
Having achieved both literary and commercial success in his lifetime, Goethe remains one of the most influential figures in modern era literature. Goethe was born into a wealthy bourgeois family in Frankfurt, Germany. His father, Johann Kaspar Goethe, was a man of leisure who had inherited money from his own father, and his mother, Katharina Elisabeth, was the daughter of the most senior official in Frankfurt. The couple had seven children, although only Goethe and his sister Cornelia lived to adulthood.
African American writers and poets have fearlessly examined cultural stigmas, provided intimate life details and created remarkable literary works. Maya Angelou was a civil rights activist, poet and award-winning author known for her acclaimed memoir, 'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,' and her numerous poetry and essay collections. Alex Haley was a writer whose works of historical fiction and reportage depicted generations of African American lives. After being kidnapped from West Africa and enslaved in Boston, Phillis Wheatley became the first African American and one of the first women to publish a book of poetry in the colonies in