The Biographer’s Handshake
On September 20, 2018, 16.00 hrs., the internationally renowned biographer Richard Holmes will give a keynote speech in the Doopsgezinde Kerk, Oude Boteringestraat 33, Groningen.
His abstract reads as follows: ‘In my time I have seen remarkable changes come over the form, not least its invasion by autobiography, the memoir, the selfie and the internet. In response I would like to look at my own changing research and teaching methods, and my emerging idea of “the handshake” across different generations, cultures, disciplines, and genders. To do this I will glance back at the British national tradition of liberal biography that has inspired me, and explore the key but deeply problematic notions of empathy and advocacy which all biographers everywhere have to confront. I will risk by ending with my notorious “Ten Commandments for Biographers”’.