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Open Access De biograaf als bijziende historicus

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The biographer as a short-sighted historian. Biography, micro- and metahistory

During the first decades of the twentieth century biography, as a vital and living discipline within academic historiography, became more and more marginalised. Young historians, eager to professionalise their craft and to incorporate new social theories and methods, dismissed biography as a short-sighted, subjective, bias, nationalistic and old-fashioned way of writing history. Today, academia still struggles to recognise biographical writing as a scientific genre, and therefore it remains controversial. Or as Richard Holmes has put it: ‘For the most part, it has been left to itself, outside the established institutes of learning’. Biographers have attempted to counteract the academic loss of status by ‘using’ theoretical concepts from other disciplines like micro- and metahistory. But by doing so they more or less have failed to ask themselves whether biography as a discipline initially was rightfully sacrificed by academic historians in their pursuit of history as a modern, objective and professional science.
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Keywords: Historische Belletristik; antibiography; biography; life writing; metabiography; microhistory

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 11, 2017

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  • Het tijdschrift Nederlandse Letterkunde is een wetenschappelijk, peer-reviewed tijdschrift voor de Nederlandstalige letterkunde. Het tijdschrift is een podium voor vakbeoefening in al haar vormen en facetten. De diverse bijdragen beslaan in hun totaliteit het gehele spectrum van Nederlandstalige letterkunde van de Middeleeuwen tot heden. Een jaargang Nederlandse Letterkunde telt drie afleveringen waarvan er steeds één aan een actueel thema gewijd wordt.

    The Dutch-language journal Nederlandse Letterkunde (Dutch Literature) is an academic peer-reviewed journal for Dutch literature. The various contributions cover the entire spectrum of Dutch literature from the Middle Ages to the present. Nederlandse Letterkunde publishes three issues a year of which one is devoted to a contemporary topic.
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