211 episodes

Talks and interviews about the life of biography as experienced by a biographer over forty years and fourteen biographies, dealing with subjects ranging from Sylvia Plath to William Faulkner, Marilyn Monroe to Susan Sontag, and much more.

A Life in Biography Carl Rollyson

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 16 Ratings

Talks and interviews about the life of biography as experienced by a biographer over forty years and fourteen biographies, dealing with subjects ranging from Sylvia Plath to William Faulkner, Marilyn Monroe to Susan Sontag, and much more.

    Biography in the Prison House of Modernism, Part 2

    Biography in the Prison House of Modernism, Part 2

    I had fun with this one. I really let it rip, if I do say so myself.

    • 41 min
    A new Greta Garbo biography by Lois Banner, with new sources and insights

    A new Greta Garbo biography by Lois Banner, with new sources and insights

    Lois Banner, biographer of Marilyn Monroe, turns to Garbo, learns Swedish, and discovers all sorts of important sources not to be found in previous biographies.

    • 42 min
    Mary Dearborn discusses her new biography of Carson McCullers

    Mary Dearborn discusses her new biography of Carson McCullers

    Mary Dearborn does a valiant job of dealing with my interruptions in our discussion of her splendid biography of Carson McCullers.

    • 52 min
    Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror” and the Prison House Modernism

    Sylvia Plath’s “Mirror” and the Prison House Modernism

    You might want to read Plath’s poem “Mirror” as I explain my reactions to it as a biographer.

    • 17 min
    Authors vanish after they die and are revived. A talk with the biographer of Carolyn Wells.

    Authors vanish after they die and are revived. A talk with the biographer of Carolyn Wells.

    How Rebecca Rego Barry discovered Carolyn Wells, and why she wrote a biography of a forgotten literary figure, and how she did it.

    • 17 min
    A rollicking interview with Paul Alexander about his new biography of Billie Holiday.

    A rollicking interview with Paul Alexander about his new biography of Billie Holiday.

    Paul Alexander talks about his new state of the art biography of Billie Holiday. I listened and I learned.

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
16 Ratings

16 Ratings

SheilaAstro ,

How the art of biography reframes everything

I’ve always read biographies since i was a child but never understood until this podcast how each biography shifts the prism through which we understand history, psychology, and culture. Thanks to this podcast, I’ve not only read books I probably would otherwise have passed by, but am reading with a wider and deeper appreciation. Thanks!

Bob Batchelor ,

Outstanding Podcast!

Carl Rollyson's "A Life in Biography" dives into biography through interviews and discussions with top biograhers, writers, and historians from around the globe. Rollyson is the Dean of American Biography and guides the conversations with insight, wit, and excellent questions. This podcast is a master class in writing, research, publishing, and the life (and lives) of biography.

eclectic7 ,

Sound quality is distracting

Interviews are top-notch, but the sound quality (or lack thereof) is distracting. Invest in a $70 Samson mike. You will still maintain that great interview style without the distraction of poor sound quality. EDIT: upgraded to 5 stars. Improvement in sound quality noted and appreciated.

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