The content and form of 'conventional' historical biography

José Miguel Sardica*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Biography is one of the most challenging, fruitful and also most criticized genres within the realm of history writing. A dark legend was built up by Marxists and structuralists to undermine biography's epistemological potential. With the revival of narrative as a privileged medium for historical writing, the genre re-entered the core of the historical field. However, it did so through different approaches, which reveal different intentions stemming from rather antagonistic epistemological stances. While conventional or reconstructionist historians reassert the genre as an example of a proper historical study, postmodern deconstructionist historians theorize it as a useful and experimental means for unconventional historical writing. The aim of this article is to present an approach not only to the problems and challenges that any practitioner of historical biography encounters but also what its conventional content and form might include as an instrument of knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-400
Number of pages18
JournalRethinking History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2013


  • Biography
  • Content
  • Form
  • Reconstructionism
  • Conventional and unconventional historiography
  • Narrative
  • Postmodernism


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