Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Mapping LivesThe Uses of Biography$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Peter France and William St Clair

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780197263181

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197263181.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM BRITISH ACADEMY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.britishacademy.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright British Academy, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in BASO for personal use.date: 04 July 2022

Sainte-Beuve: Biography, Criticism, and the Literary

Sainte-Beuve: Biography, Criticism, and the Literary

(p.134) (p.135) 8 Sainte-Beuve: Biography, Criticism, and the Literary
Mapping Lives

Ann Jefferson

British Academy

Biography seemed to have little to offer in comparison to literature itself. From this perspective, it is perceived as being at best marginal to literature, and at worst as antithetical to the literary. This negative relation is predominant in the French tradition, where writers themselves have repeatedly and vehemently protested against what they perceived as extraneous imposition of the ‘life’ onto the literary ‘work’. This chapter addresses whether biography has any critical validity in the study of literary texts, when their prime concern is considered by the critical parti pris and by their authors to be aesthetic. In it, the focus is on Sainte-Beuve, the founder and exemplar of the biological approach to literary criticism. The chapter determines whether and how his method acquired general critical validity, what its critical presuppositions were, and how it conceived of literature and the literary.

Keywords:   biography, literature, literary texts, validity, parti pris, Sainte-Beuve, biological approach, literary criticism

British Academy Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.