Janice Caulfield


Biographical fiction narratives—often of famous artists—have, claims David Lodge (2014), become ‘a fashionable form of literary fiction’. Yet in writing about famous people, the novelist is most often faced with countless biographies and archival materials in letters, literary notes, diaries, and in the works (and reviews) of the subject author/artist themselves, to say nothing of the academic scholarship surrounding the subject and their work. The problem for the novelist then in researching their subject, is where to draw the line. This paper examines the challenge for biographical fiction writers in imagining the lives of their subjects beyond that which has been documented—the ‘what is left over’, after reading the extant literature. The paper’s focus is on my own work in progress: a biographical novel about the life of the South African writer and social theorist, Olive Schreiner. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.21153/cinder2019art868


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