Writing an intellectual biography definition

These orientations may take the form of articles, vignettes, chapters, monographs, and full-length books. One need not draw fine distinctions among these different approaches, however, and each orientation offers particular strengths for the presentation of the biographical subject. Realms are crossed continually as the intent and purpose of the biographer become more clearly defined during the research process. Ultimately, biographers while engaged in their research are constantly examining their interpretive voices as much as the lives of their biographical subjects.

Writing an intellectual biography definition

Introduction Interior, Exterior In a liberal society the historian is free to try to dissociate myths from reality, but that same impulse to myth-making that moves his fellow man is also at work in him. For nearly thirty years, the legend goes, he wrote the best books for the best publisher, won the best prizes, and taught in the best city, at the best school, at the best time.

Among historians, The American Political Tradition, House of Knopf, Pulitzer, New York, Columbia University, and postwar America evoke a hazy attachment to a lost world of scholarly giants confident in the curative powers of the enlightened mind. This was a world raised in the collective memory of the Depression thirties, tormented by the anti-intellectualism of the McCarthy fifties, and rejected in the student wars of the radical sixties.

Along the way, American society changed and historical writing changed, too. Now, as the last great historians of the postwar period leave the scene, it seems particularly useful to candidly assess the greatest among them.

Tracing his life reveals a complex tapestry of internal and external motivations that merged to produce a uniquely insightful mind, alert to the promise and perils of American democracy. More than three decades after his untimely death from leukemia at the age of fifty-four, legions of journalists and Internet bloggers routinely adopt social-psychological concepts—status anxiety, paranoid style, anti-intellectualism—popularized by Hofstadter.

Among professional historians, only the distinguished Progressive thinkers Frederick Jackson Turner and Charles Beard and postwar notables C. Vann Woodward and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

Like these men, Hofstadter exhibited an enviable ability to connect with a large, critical, and politically conscious readership. More than any of his peers, Hofstadter was sensitive to the increasingly urban and ethnic character of American life. Eager to embrace the future rather than commemorate the past, he rejected the conventional signposts that had for so long given direction to American civilization—a culture of capitalism, individualism, and isolationism.


These established values, he knew, had long served Americans eager to define themselves as a Protestant, farming people.

But the times no longer supported this vision—nineteenth-century liberalism collapsed in the s. His criticisms frequently drew blood and aroused strong opposition from both conservatives and progressives. And they had good reason to worry.

Anglo-Saxonism and agrarianism were out. Ethnic diversity and modernity were in. In the pages of his most popular books, Hofstadter championed a thoughtful and pragmatic social philosophy sympathetic to the welfare state reforms initiated by the New Deal.

Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography by David S. Brown, an excerpt

To describe his views as essentially relativistic, however, is to miss the point. Hofstadter respected history, took it on its own terms, and according to the merits of evidence, demonstrated an admirable responsiveness to rethinking earlier positions and revising earlier statements. His controversial experimentation with the social sciences in the s came from an urgent desire to understand the past more fully and accurately, to expand historical inquiry beyond the economic interpretations favored by the previous generation in order to entertain a broader and yet more subtle scope of human activity.

In tracing the psychology and emotional needs of his subjects, Hofstadter hoped to make history at once more complex and more clear. Above all, he delighted in lucid, unsentimental thinking and solid argumentation; indeed, they formed the foundations of his own work. The historian, being an individual, is also a product of history, and of society; and it is in this twofold light that the student of history must learn to regard him.

Involvement, no doubt, sacrificed a scientific pose, yet, as he knew from firsthand experience, it also provided the writer with a surfeit of fresh insights and new perspectives. Upheaval too, can abet the imagination.

writing an intellectual biography definition

The fragility of the times undoubtedly shaped its survivors. These turbulent days drew him into a deep and meaningful engagement with a radically altered postwar world. As the old liberalism expired in the twin failures of Hooverism and isolationism, he felt free to challenge the dominant outline of American history.Intellectual Biography Guidelines HIST /, Spring , "Women Thinking" Finding Your Subject • Please consult with the instructor, either in person, by phone, or by e-mail, about possible subjects for your essay by the third week of the term.

Tip. Do not confuse writing an intellectual biography with one that contains big, impressive words. While you should expose your vocabulary skills to some extent, keep showboating to a minimum.

Oct 22,  · I would like to think that my intellectual and creative education began in Montessori School, where I can still remember the vivid colors, sounds, and touch of the many activities that surrounded me – the Light Bright and beaded counting instruments, the self structured independence and self-paced development methods, the music .

Intellectual Autobiography of Bryan Caplan. High School.

Erickson Intellectual Biography. For the Gerontology Senior Seminar, I asked students to write their intellectual biography. I had never written one myself so I also completed the assignment. Biography, form of literature, commonly considered nonfictional, the subject of which is the life of an vetconnexx.com of the oldest forms of literary expression, it seeks to re-create in words the life of a human being—as understood from the historical or personal perspective of the author—by drawing upon all available evidence, including that . Definition of Biography. A biography is simply an account or detailed description about the life of a person. It entails basic facts, such as childhood, education, career, relationships, family, and death.

It began with Ayn Rand, as it proverbially does. I was in 11 th grade journalism class with Matt Mayers, my friend since the age of six. The course was the most notoriously undemanding in Granada Hills High School, leaving ample time for free reading.

Intellectual Autobiography of Bryan Caplan. High School. It began with Ayn Rand, as it proverbially does. I was in 11 th grade journalism class with Matt Mayers, my friend since the age of six.

The course was the most notoriously undemanding in Granada Hills High School, leaving ample time for free reading.

A Brief Intellectual and Academic Biography.

Types of Biography

By Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D. Professor, New York University. I began my undergraduate studies as a pre-med student at .

Intellectual Autobiography_Michael Rectenwald - Google Docs