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Biography and Motherhood

  • By: Elizabeth Podnieks
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Biography refers to the life story of an individual as narrated by someone other than the subject, as distinguished from autobiography, which is the story of one's self. Biography is associated with a Western literary tradition dating from the late 1500s, in which the lives or histories of notable subjects are recounted by biographers who trace, from birth to death, their subjects' personalities, relationships, and accomplishments.

The Beginnings of Mothers in Biography

Career successes (or failures) and other feats of action take place within public or external spheres that have traditionally excluded women, who have been confined to private and domestic realms; therefore, both biographical subjects and their biographer-interpreters have historically been male. It was not until the late 19th and early 20th centuries that women's lives ...

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