Difficulties of Biography Writing: A Philosophical Approach

Creative Commons License

Taşdelen V.

Journal of Arts and Humanities, vol.3, no.1, pp.143-149, 2014 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 3 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Journal Name: Journal of Arts and Humanities
  • Journal Indexes: Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Page Numbers: pp.143-149
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In art, the realistic phase of the handled event, in other words weather the story is experienced or not, is not questioned. This way it is thought: “This is a work of art, that’s why it may be real as well as fictitious”. The artist may have produced it in his world of imagination and universe of dreams by adding his experiences, feelings, fears and expectations and shaped it. The artist does not have any obligation of to cling or to start from reality. However, we cannot claim the same thing for the people who study on historical or social events. For instance, a historian studies on an event that includes a value of reality in every sense and has “been completed long time ago”. He will try to enlighten and reconstruct the event with words by addressing information, document and statements he could find. In doing so, he is aware of the fact that the document he works on is a real. He knows that he is not supposed to interfere and he should not distort it with his own feelings and dreams. The method of a historian is different from the one used by an artist. In this respect an artist includes his views, subjectivity and feelings to his work but a historian does his best to exclude himself and avoid his feelings, ideas and expectations to interfere the event. On the other hand, there is a person who is both artist and a historian: This is the biography writer. While collecting his sources, documents and witnesses, he questions them just like a historian who sets off from the value of reality and being experienced. Besides, he studies on “person” and takes a personal life as subject, just like a novelist. In order to paint the portrait of his hero, he depends on his imagination like an artist. From time to time, by adding his feelings inside the event, he arrives at emotional decisions about the person. But as a matter of fact, he produces a work that contains historical knowledge value as well as artistic quality pertaining an existence and experience. In this article, quality of this work will be dealt and the problems that can arise in this respect will be focused on.