G. K. Chesterton’s biographies. Peculiarities of the genre form

Ekaterina V. Zueva, Maria A. Kozyreva


The paper deals with biographies written by G.K.Chesterton. The works are viewed from the perspective of peculiarities of his artistic and critical method as well as through the prism of biographical theory. The authors aim to study the artistic and polemical means used by G.K.Chesterton, and to identify the features of his biographical approach. The history of the writer’s biographical writings is traced. It is proved that following the general rules of the biography as a traditional conventional form Chesterton breaks with the conventional approaches and forms his own variant of the genre. Such specific methods as building up the psychological portrait of the subject by analysing his creation, paradoxes, brief overview of the life events, open subjectivity of the author’s position and publicistic pathos, essayistic digressions are proved to be the leading technique of Chesterton’s biographies. In this paper we tried to figure out some of the most characteristic features of the biographies written by G.K.Chesterton. Taking into account the fact of the importance and diversity of the biographical genre forms in the twentieth and twenty first century it would be interesting to place Chesterton’s works into a wider context of the English biographical tradition and to trace his impact on the contemporary development of the genre form.


G. K. Chesterton, biography, art criticism, literary criticism, hagiography, essay.

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