Hermione Lee - Author

About the Author

Hermione Lee is a biographer, critic, and teacher of literature. Her previous books include the internationally acclaimed biography, Virginia Woolf ('One of the most impressive biographies of the decade: moving, eloquent, powerful', Financial Times) and Edith Wharton ('A feat of exhaustive research... a glorious biography', Independent on Sunday), as well as books on Elizabeth Bowen, Willa Cather and Philip Roth. Her collection of essays on life-writing, Body Parts, was published in 2005, and her Biography: A Very Short Introduction in 2009. She is the President of Wolfson College Oxford. In 2013 she was made a Dame for services to Literary Scholarship. She lives in Oxford and Yorkshire.

Featured books by Hermione Lee

Penelope Fitzgerald A Life

Penelope Fitzgerald A Life

Author: Hermione Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/11/2014

This is the winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography 2014. Brilliant and passionate ...a haunting tale of blighted hope, personal tragedy and rare, late fulfilment . (Observer). Penelope Fitzgerald published her first book aged sixty. She went on to become one of the greatest of English novelists. Her remarkable life spans most of the twentieth century, and moves from a Bishop's Palace to a sinking barge, from a demanding intellectual family to hardship and poverty, from a life of teaching and obscurity to a blaze of renown. She was awarded the Booker Prize in 1979 for her novel Offshore, and her last work, The Blue Flower, is widely acclaimed as a work of genius. This brilliant account - by a biographer whom Fitzgerald herself admired - pursues her life, her writing, and her secret self, with fascinated interest, and has become one of the most celebrated literary biographies of recent times.

Other books by Hermione Lee

Penelope Fitzgerald A Life

Penelope Fitzgerald A Life

Author: Hermione Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/11/2014

This is the winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography 2014. Brilliant and passionate ...a haunting tale of blighted hope, personal tragedy and rare, late fulfilment . (Observer). Penelope Fitzgerald published her first book aged sixty. She went on to become one of the greatest of English novelists. Her remarkable life spans most of the twentieth century, and moves from a Bishop's Palace to a sinking barge, from a demanding intellectual family to hardship and poverty, from a life of teaching and obscurity to a blaze of renown. She was awarded the Booker Prize in 1979 for her novel Offshore, and her last work, The Blue Flower, is widely acclaimed as a work of genius. This brilliant account - by a biographer whom Fitzgerald herself admired - pursues her life, her writing, and her secret self, with fascinated interest, and has become one of the most celebrated literary biographies of recent times.

Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton

Author: Hermione Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/06/2013

The name 'Edith Wharton' conjures up 'Gilded Age' New York, in all its snobbery and ruthlessness - the world of The Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth. But this definitive biography by Hermione Lee overturns the stereotype. This Edith Wharton is not the genteel, nostalgic chronicler of a vanished age but a fiercely modern woman, writing of sex and incest, love and war - a woman of passionate conviction and conflicting ambitions and desires. Born in 1862 during the Civil War, Wharton broke away from her wealthy background. She travelled adventurously in Europe, eventually settling in Paris: during the First World War she committed herself to war-work, and lived in France, her 'second country' until her death in 1937. She created fabulous homes in New England and in France, and her life was filled with remarkable friends, including Henry James, Bernard Berenson, Aldous Huxley and Kenneth Clark. She ran her professional life with fierce energy, but she also had her secrets, including a passionate mid-life love-affair, recorded in a coded diary. She was unhappily married, childless, and divorced, and knew loneliness and anguish. Her brilliant, disturbing fiction shows her deep understanding of the longing and struggle in women's lives. This masterly new biography draws on new material and delves into every aspect of Wharton's extraordinary life-story. It shifts the emphasis towards Europe, placing her in her social context and her history. In particular, it shows in fascinating detail how she worked and what lies at the heart of her magnificent and subtle books.

Body Parts Essays on Life-Writing

Body Parts Essays on Life-Writing

Author: Hermione Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/03/2008

As readers, we seem to be increasingly fascinated by studies of individual lives. In this timely, unusual and exhilarating collection Hermione Lee is concerned in different ways with approaches to 'life-writing': the relation of biography to fiction and history; the exploration of writers' lives in connection with their works; the new and changing ways in which biographies, memoirs, diaries and autobiographies can be discussed. As the title suggests, she also unravels the complex links between physical, sensual details and the 'body' of a work. 'Shelley's Heart and Pepys' Lobsters', for example, deals with myths, contested objects and things that go missing, while 'Jane Austen Faints' takes five varied accounts of the same dramatic moment to ask how biography deals with the private lives of famous women, a theme taken up in 'Virginia Woolf's Nose', on the way that the author's life-stories have been transformed into fiction and film. Rich, diverting and entertaining, these brilliant studies by a leading critic and internationally acclaimed biographer raise profound and intriguing issues about every aspect of writing, and reading, a life.

Virginia Woolf's Nose Essays on Biography

Virginia Woolf's Nose Essays on Biography

Author: Hermione Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/01/2007

What choices must a biographer make when stitching the pieces of a life into one coherent whole? How do we best create an accurate likeness of a private life from the few articles that linger after death? How do we choose what gets left out? This intriguing and witty collection of essays by an internationally acclaimed biographer looks at how biography deals with myths and legends, what goes missing and what can't be proved in the story of a life. Virginia Woolf's Nose presents a variety of case-studies, in which literary biographers are faced with gaps and absences, unprovable stories and ambiguities surrounding their subjects. By looking at stories about Percy Bysshe Shelley's shriveled, burnt heart found pressed between the pages of a book, Jane Austen's fainting spell, Samuel Pepys's lobsters, and the varied versions of Virginia Woolf's life and death, preeminent biographer Hermione Lee considers how biographers deal with and often utilize these missing body parts, myths, and contested data to fill in the gaps of a life story. In Shelley's Heart and Pepys's Lobsters, an essay dealing with missing parts and biographical legends, Hermione Lee discusses one of the most complicated and emotionally charged examples of the contested use of biographical sources. Jane Austen Faints takes five competing versions of the same dramatic moment in the writer's life to ask how biography deals with the private lives of famous women. Virginia Woolf's Nose looks at the way this legendary author's life has been translated through successive transformations, from biography to fiction to film, and suggests there can be no such thing as a definitive version of a life. Finally, How to End It All analyzes the changing treatment of deathbed scenes in biography to show how biographical conventions have shifted, and asks why the narrators and readers of life-stories feel the need to give special meaning and emphasis to endings. Virginia Woolf's Nose sheds new light on the way biographers bring their subjects to life as physical beings, and offers captivating new insights into the drama of life-writing . Virginia Woolf's Nose is a witty, eloquent, and funny text by a renowned biographer whose sensitivity to the art of telling a story about a human life is unparalleled--and in creating it, Lee articulates and redefines the parameters of her craft.

Body Parts Essays on Life-Writing

Body Parts Essays on Life-Writing

Author: Hermione Lee Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/01/2005

As readers, we seem to be increasingly fascinated by studies of individual lives. In this timely, unusual and exhilarating collection Hermione Lee is concerned in different ways with approaches to 'life-writing': the relation of biography to fiction and history; the exploration of writers' lives in connection with their works; the new and changing ways in which biographies, memoirs, diaries and autobiographies can be discussed. As the title suggests, she also unravels the complex links between physical, sensual details and the 'body' of a work. 'Shelley's Heart and Pepys' Lobsters', for example, deals with myths, contested objects and things that go missing, while 'Jane Austen Faints' takes five varied accounts of the same dramatic moment to ask how biography deals with the private lives of famous women, a theme taken up in 'Virginia Woolf's Nose', on the way that the author's life-stories have been transformed into fiction and film. Other essays tease out different approaches, like that on Philip and Edmund Gosse, which enquires into the opposition between literary and scientific lives, or the fascinating 'Reading in Bed', which explores women's formative childhood reading, and how it enters into their adult writing. The subjects range from T. S. Eliot to J. M. Coetzee, from May Sinclair and Rosamond Lehmann to Eudora Welty and Brian Moore. Rich, diverting and entertaining, these brilliant studies by a leading critic and internationally acclaimed biographer raise profound and intriguing issues about every aspect of writing, and reading, a life.

Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf

Author: Hermione Lee Format: Paperback Release Date: 02/10/1997

Hermione Lee sees Virginia Woolf afresh, in her historical setting and as a vital figure for our times. Her book moves freely between a richly detailed life-story and new attempts to understand crucial questions - the impact of her childhood, the cause and nature of her madness and suicide, the truth about her marriage, her feelings for women, her prejudies and obsessions. This is a vivid, close-up portrait, returning to primary sources, and showing Woolf as occupying a distinct, even uneasy position with 'Bloomsbury'. It is a writer's life, illustrating how the concerns of her work arise and develop, and a political life, which establishes Woolf as a radically sceptical, subversive, courageous feminist. Incorporating newly discovered sources and illustrated with photos and drawings never used before, this biography is a revelation -informed, intelligent and moving.

Author Info

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http://www.hermionelee.com/

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