Georgiana devonshire’s imaginative writing in biography

Kamilya F. Ayupova, Maria A. Kozyreva, Tatyana I. Akimova


The article explores a celebrity biography of the person known to have written a number of works, but yet didn’t qualify for a literary biography. Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1757-1806) was an 18th century socialite who, among other achievements, wrote poetry and fiction. However, she did not gain her fame through literature. The authors study the function of pieces of written works used in the biographies of the Duchess. The biographer’s tend to choose the Duchess’s works known to be autobiographical. The 1779 novel “The Sylph” arises the most interest. The custom has been to dismiss the novel as a roman à clef. Though all of the Duchess’ biographers to various degrees include her creative works, none of them can be called literary biography, because they do not recognise their literary value. They do not view Georgiana as a writer, as writing was not her chief occupation. Her political activity and private misfortunes overshadowed her talents.


biography, Duchess of Devonshire, The Sylph, roman à clef, 18th century novel.

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