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Biography and sexism

Why do women biographers get confused with their subjects? Men don't

By Kathryn Hughes   October 2005

Virginia Woolf argued for an androgynous art that would transcend gender and set the novel free to soar in a realm where the maleness or femaleness of its creator no longer much mattered. TS Eliot wanted an impersonal poetry in which his work would be read without any reference to the known or imagined details of his life. Above all what neither writer wanted was for their books to be situated in a network of gossipy and limiting confusion about where they ended and their artistic productions began.

No one, though, has ever suggested the same thing for biographers. Indeed,…

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