Artem Kosheliev, Graduate Student of the Department of Modern and Contemporary History of Foreign Countries, Faculty of History, Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University


In the article based on modern studies of biography development by Western European and American scholars are demonstrated the changes in the approaches to writing biographies during the 1980-2016. Considering the processes of transformation of these studies in the context of changes in the intellectual climate of the Western European and American academic environment, the author demonstrates the ways in which the biography occupied an important place among academic studies. Also the article focuses on the connection between the “biographical turn” and the crisis of the historical narrative, caused by the proliferation of the postmodern narrative theory of historical discourse.

The need for the rethinking of approaches to the studies of individuals lives, especially prominent political and public figures, was due to the poor awareness of professional historians about their private life and the lack of clear tools for its study. In this regard, the rethinking of the theoretical foundations of biographical works is actualized and the search for new forms of writing biographies has become more active. This study demonstrates examples of new tools used by modern researchers in an attempt to move away from writing biographies in accordance of the patterns of the beginning of the 20th century as well as the reasons for such changes. One of the most important changes in this context was the application of new literary techniques in writing biographies, as well as the use of interviews and methods of oral history for their creation.

“biographical turn”, biographical studies, theory and methodology, crisis of historical narrative

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