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Biographies are but the clothes and buttons of the man. The biography of the man himself cannot be written.
No great man lives in vain. The history of the world is but the biography of great men.
Those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of biography and history.
Carter G. Woodson
Not enough books focus on how a culture responds to radically new ideas or discovery. Especially in the biography genre, they tend to focus on all the sordid details in the life of the person who made the discovery. I find this path to be voyeuristic but not enlightening.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
The library of my elementary school had this great biography section, and I read all of these paperback biographies until they were dog-eared. The story of Eleanor Roosevelt and Madame Curie and Martin Luther King and George Washington Carver and on and on and on.
You can use a biography to examine political power, but only if you pick the right guy.
I rely on my iPad for on-the-go entertainment. I stock it with TV shows, like 'Parks and Recreation' and the British version of 'The Office.' I'm reading a Charles Manson biography on it too, since I'm weirdly into true crime.
The rumors of Frank Sinatra's violence and his ties to organized crime were such that journalists joked in print about me ending up in concrete boots and sleeping with the fishes if I proceeded to write his biography.
Sometimes I read a biography of some tempestuous artist and find myself longing for fireworks! booze! bloody fights!; I do think that life must be so much more thrilling when you're actively miserable.
For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.
Of all the species of literary composition, perhaps biography is the most delightful. The attention concentrated on one individual gives a unity to the materials of which it is composed, which is wanting in general history.
Whether in print or other media, a good biography is more than a court record or a stringing together of already familiar sources. It breathes life into the subject.
Noel Riley Fitch
I'm not one of those people who writes a biography or tries to figure out what kind of ice cream the character liked when he was 10.
If you're doing a biography, you try to stay as accurate as possible to reality. But you really don't know what was going on in the person's mind. You just know what was going on in the minds of people around him.
I wanted to be a poet when I was 20; I had no interest in fiction or biography and precious little interest in history, but those three elements in my life have become the most important.
I am trying to make clear through my writing something which I believe: that biography- history in general- can be literature in the deepest and highest sense of that term.
Read no history: nothing but biography, for that is life without theory.
There is no psychology; there is only biography and autobiography.
The big biography of Lincoln necessarily had to do so much with his political career, his ambitions, his accomplishments in public, with less time to spend on his private life, his inner life, and I thought this might be a way of getting at that.
David Herbert Donald
One good anecdote is worth a volume of biography.
William Ellery Channing
It means that no matter what you write, be it a biography, an autobiography, a detective novel, or a conversation on the street, it all becomes fiction as soon as you write it down.
Guillermo Cabrera Infante
Biography, like big game hunting, is one of the recognized forms of sport, and it is as unfair as only sport can be.
I often tell people who want to write historical fiction: don't read all that much about the period you're writing about; read things from the period that you're writing about. There's a tendency to stoke up on a lot of biography and a lot of history, and not to actually get back to the original sources.
My biography of Frank Sinatra is not paean to his music but rather an illumination of the man behind the music, who once described himself as 'an 18-karat manic-depressive who lived a life of violent emotional contradictions with an over-acute capacity for sadness as well as happiness.'
I have had the unfortunate experience of having someone write an unauthorised biography of me. Half of it is lies and the other half is badly written. My feeling is that if I'm going to write my life story, I ought to have my life first.
I went on a Buddha jag. I read 'Confession of a Buddhist Atheist' by Stephen Batchelor and Karen Armstrong's biography of Buddha, which is a great book.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Image of the Moment
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
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