Most of the essays offered here are revised versions of papers first prepared for an invitational conference on "The Psychology of Biography," held in Chapel Hill, November 12-14, 1981. The conference, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, brought together twelve biographers—including historians, literary scholars, political scientists, and psychoanalysts—each of whom had composed an introspective essay describing his experience of the biographical process. Each participant was invited to proceed in whatever manner seemed appropriate to him, but all were encouraged as well to address a number of questions that we regard as central to this inquiry: Why did I decide to write a biography, and how did I select a subject? How did I achieve insight into the internal life of my protagonist? In what ways did I put my personal stamp on the portrait I produced? As a result of protracted involvement with the subject, did the latter influence my life, and, if so, how? The contributors have responded to these questions in varying degrees, but they provide evidence enough to permit, for the first time, some systematic treatment of these and subsidiary questions. On the other hand, each paper is marked by an individual approach and style. Taken as a whole, these uncommonly intimate and self-revealing essays illuminate many aspects of the biographical enterprise. The collaborative character of the symposium deserves emphasis. It began with the request that the contributors-to-be all address a number of specific questions. It continued with the cooperation of a majority of the contributors with a psychoanalyst or clinical psychologist, as an aspect of the preparation of their papers. (More on this in a moment.) It went a step further at the conference itself, which served as a forum for an exchange of views so stimulating that it prompted the participants to undertake to revise their papers. Moreover, the conferees were so impressed by the frequent flashes of illumination, most often touched off by Dr. George Moraitis, that they asked him to compose an additional essay (an afterword) for this volume, to bring to a wider public the workings, pitfalls, and potentialities of the collaborative method.



chapter 1|34 pages

Psychological Dimensions of the Biographical Process

BySamuel H. Baron

chapter 2|34 pages

Psychoanalysis and Biography

ByJoseph D. Lichtenberg

part |2 pages

Collaborative Explorations of the Biographical Process with George Moraitis

chapter 4|22 pages

Returning to Nietzsche

ByCarl Pletsch

chapter 5|14 pages

Henry Adams: An Intellectual Historian’s Perspective Reconsidered

ByMark R. Schwehn

chapter 6|14 pages

A Psychoanalyst’s Perspective on Henry Adams

ByGeorge Moraitis

chapter 7|16 pages

Biography and the Russian Intelligentsia

ByRichard Wortman

part |2 pages

Repeating the Moraitis Method

chapter 8|16 pages

Newton and His Biographer

ByRichard S. Westfall

chapter 9|18 pages

My Life with G. V. Plekhanov

BySamuel H. Baron

chapter 10|14 pages

A Second Look at Andrew Carnegie

ByJoseph F. Wall

part |2 pages

Other Introspections on the Biographical Process

chapter 11|26 pages

Thoreau’s Lives, Lebeauxs Lives

ByRichard Lebeaux

chapter 12|24 pages

A Stalin Biographer’s Memoir

ByRobert C. Tucker

chapter 13|14 pages

T. E. Lawrence and the Psychology of Heroism

ByJohn E. Mack

chapter 14|12 pages

A Biographical Inclination

BySteven Marcus

chapter 15|8 pages

Notes on Researching James Forrestal

ByArnold A. Rogow

part |2 pages


chapter 16|36 pages

The Psychoanalyst’s Role in the Biographer s Quest for Self-Awareness

ByGeorge Moraitis

chapter 17|6 pages

Subjectivity and Biography

ByCarl Pletsch