Literary Biomythography

Michael Benton (University of Southampton, UK)

DOI: 10.1191/0967550705ab024oa


Myth-making is endemic in the life histories of novelists and poets. Literary biographies are complicit in the process even when they seek to demythologize their subjects. This article outlines a five-phase development in the Brontë myth as the paradigm of `biomythography'. Life writings about Byron, Dickens and Sylvia Plath are then shown to follow a similar pattern and to exemplify, respectively, the characteristics of celebrity, idolatry and martyrdom that typify myth-making and which literary biography both helps to create and attempts to expose.


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