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Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History$
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Alexander Bieri

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381373

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381373.001.0001

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The Biographer’s Power and Private Archives

The Biographer’s Power and Private Archives

(p.53) The Biographer’s Power and Private Archives
Crisis, Credibility and Corporate History

Birgitte Possing

Liverpool University Press

Historical biography is an important public tool in understanding how historical and public personalities have an impact. The Western market is overwhelmed by biographical writing, in entertainment, business, media, literature, and history. Thus it has become important to understand how and why historical biographies influence our understanding, not only of history but also of the present and future. Which games is the biographer playing with the protagonists, and with the audience? What is the role of archives in the making of biographies? What is the relevance of private archives to societal cultural heritage? How are biographers using archives in representing the individualities, in celebrating or devastating the reputation of the protagonist and his/her work? This paper presents the eight archetypes of the historical biography, reflecting on the relevance of private archives in business, literature, and public institutions.

Keywords:   biographical writing, historical biography, private archives, public institutions

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