Adam Sisman

Crisis? What Crisis?

Biography is a genre in crisis, according to Michael Holroyd, one of the most respected biographers of modern times. The ‘golden age’ of biography has come and gone. Literary biography in particular is ‘tremendously out of fashion’. 

Similar views are frequently heard in the book trade nowadays. Sales forecasts are lower than they were, and advances correspondingly smaller. Professional biographers are finding life hard. Not long ago it was reported that Victoria Glendinning, the author of several highly praised literary lives (at least one of which was a bestseller), was finding it difficult to obtain a commission for her latest project. Apparently the public no longer wants to read full-scale biographies; according to one publisher-turned-agent, ‘readers are bored by the form’. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,