By Catherine M. Soussloff
This can be the 1st booklet to investigate the artist's biography as a rhetorical shape and literary style instead of as an unassailable resource of truth and information.
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Extra info for Absolute Artist. The Historiography of a Concept
Smiling winningly, shyly) Maybe some of it'll rub off. LIONEL: (warming) Are you an artist? WOMAN: You're an artist... I'm a painter . . I mean, I'm trying ... I'm not saying .. ,49 On the Threshold of Historiography 7 3 7 Whether in the text of a biography of Michelangelo or in Life Lessons, "the artist" has a cultural presence that heretofore has seemed beyond speech or discourse. That is the myth that will be explored in the final chapter of this book. It is time to bring back the stench and sweetness of the bodies of the artists, of their histories, of the writing about them, and of their political realities.
In fact it is the temporal convergence of auteur theories and the reevaluation of film genres that interests me here, for it replicates to some extent the situation of the object-artist binary in art history without the On the Threshold of Historiography I 31 attendant interpretative impasse that has occurred in terms of the artist, the impasse that this book seeks to rectify. Bill Nichols summarizes this important convergence in the history of film criticism this way: One of the most debated frontiers lies between genre and auteur criticism.
There have been mediations between the single biographical text or a group of biographical texts by one author and the representation of the contemporaneous reality represented by those texts, usually called "the historical context" or the period history. This book, on another hand, attempts something new: not only the mediation between the individual and texts that represent the individual but also, simultaneously, the investigation of historical mediation itself. "14 This is accomplished through analysis of the biographical text, the historical interpretations in art history and related disciplines that rely on the textual genre of biography, sometimes naively, and the historical situations of the art historians who have examined or used biographies.