De biograaf als bijziende historicus | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1384-5829
  • E-ISSN: 2352-118X



During the first decades of the twentieth century biography, as a vital and living discipline within academic historiography, became more and more marginalised. Young historians, eager to professionalise their craft and to incorporate new social theories and methods, dismissed biography as a short-sighted, subjective, bias, nationalistic and old-fashioned way of writing history. Today, academia still struggles to recognise biographical writing as a scientific genre, and therefore it remains controversial. Or as Richard Holmes has put it: ‘For the most part, it has been left to itself, outside the established institutes of learning’. Biographers have attempted to counteract the academic loss of status by ‘using’ theoretical concepts from other disciplines like micro- and metahistory. But by doing so they more or less have failed to ask themselves whether biography as a discipline initially was rightfully sacrificed by academic historians in their pursuit of history as a modern, objective and professional science.


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