Katharina Prager: Die Lektüre von historischen Biographien ist gefährlich – Aktuelle Bismarck-Biografik

Abstract

Reading historical biographies is dangerous – A critical overview of recent Bismarck-
Biographies

Modes and functions of biography have undergone significant changes. Tendencies emerged to
scrutinise the notion of biographies as a bourgeois and male hegemonic project and a means of
creating national identity. The implicit bias and ideological implications of writing the lives of ‘great’
(white) men, however, proved hard to overcome.
Biographical forms have been continuously present in historiography, while at the same time
historians in Central Europe showed a certain lack of interest to engage closely with theories
on biography. This essay explores how four German historians who recently wrote popular
biographies on one of Germany’s most notorious ‘great men’ Otto von Bismarck, concerned
themselves with the demands, methods and trends of modern academic biography.

Besprochen werden u. a.: Kolb, E.: Otto von Bismarck (379); Kraus, H.-C.: Bismarck (379); Nonn, C.:
Bismarck (379); Willms, J.: Bismarck (379)

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Nadja Häckel
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Nicole Ihrig
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