ART & LIFE
POSTCARD BIOGRAPHIES FROM THE ARCHIVES OF THE NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY
Sunday 12 January 1997
1. Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) on George Eliot (1819-1880)
Sprung from country people but insatiably intellectual, George Eliot's early novels are the fruit of happy memory; her later of melancholy thought. Isolated by an ambiguous marriage, extravagantly praised, she early lost vitality and her novels suffered. But she stretched the capacity of fiction, and forced it not only to tell a story and reflect manners but to contain the comment and criticism of a large mind brooding over life. V Woolf
The art of biography exemplified? Some contributors needed several drafts, and a few anguished letters, to compress their thoughts into 70 acceptable words. Virginia Woolf seemed to have no trouble submitting her copy exactly to length, and it makes a brilliant example of how to frame pithy criticism, essential biographical information and thoughts on the nature of fiction in so short a space. No one seemed to mind the ungrammatical opening.
Portraits, drawings and letters from the "postcard biography" archives are on display at the National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place, London WC2. Free.
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 3 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
- 4 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 5 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
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Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
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