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This textbook is an anthology of significant theoretical discussions of biography as a genre and as a literary-historical practice. Covering the 18th to the 21st centuries, the reader includes programmatic texts by authors such as Herder, Carlyle, Dilthey, Proust, Freud, Kracauer, Woolf and Bourdieu. Each text is accompanied by a commentary placing its contribution in critical context. Ideal for use in undergraduate seminars, this reader may also be of interest for academic researchers in the areas of literary studies and history aiming to get an overview of historical questions in biographical theory. This revised and updated English language edition also includes new translations of texts by J. G. Herder and Stefan Zweig, as well as an introductory discussion on the possibility of a ‘theory of biography’.