I’m not really a fan of celebrity biographies. I mean, I know that they can be pretty fascinating to read, but I always feel like there’s so much more that I could learn from people who have been in the public eye for longer than a few days. I would much rather learn about someone’s life from an interview or a firsthand account rather than a couple of pages of someone’s CV.
But here we are. Our dear friend, Lisa Woodlock Pattinson, has decided that a biography would be just the ticket to her fame. She’s probably right, considering the fact that she is, in fact, somewhat of a celebrity biographer. So here’s your humble narrator rolling his eyes, and trying his best to keep his cynicism in check.
The Lady, The Scrivener, And The Biographer
If you’re wondering what brought Lisa, an unpublished writer, to the attention of the publishing world, it’s probably because of her previous life as an heiress in New York. Even though she had to give up her aristocrat ways after inheriting her father’s fortune, she still maintained her connections to high society and attended parties at the Rockefeller Center. She wrote about her life as “the good girl of noble society,” in her 2004 book, The Lady, The Scrivener, And The Biographer: A Memoir.
But I digress. Back to Lisa, the celebrity biographer. Despite her previous life of leisure, she decided to follow in the footsteps of her older sister, Elizabeth, and enter the world of academia. She got her Ph.D. in English literature from UCLA in 2007, and since then, she has devoted her life to researching and writing about the published work of Jane Austen. She also teaches a class on Austen at UCLA Extension, where she specializes in the author’s “rhetorical strategies.”
So what exactly does a biographer do? Well, it depends on the kind of biography you’re writing. For a general biography, or an abridged version of someone’s life, the biographer might compile a few relevant facts about the subject’s life, such as their birth date, place of birth, and death date. They might also include personal information, like the subject’s place of residence prior to becoming famous, or any significant events that happened during the subject’s life. A general writer or researcher might also choose to include a bibliography of the works of the subject, as well as a list of any awards or distinctions that the subject might have won. All of this might seem pretty dry, and a bit of an unnecessary detour from the main story, but it’s important to keep in mind the kinds of details that a biographer might choose to include.
Why Jane Austen?
In case you’re wondering, Lisa isn’t the only member of the famous Pattinson family to have a thing for Jane Austen. Her uncle, Thomas, was also a well-known English literature professor, and he wrote a whole book about Austen. In fact, he considered her to be the granddaddy of all English novelists. So if you’ve never heard of Jane Austen, your Aunt Lisa might have mentioned her. And if you have, maybe even asked her about her obsession with the English novelist.
But back to Lisa. According to her CV, she chose to focus on Austen because she wanted to analyze the author’s “method of construction” and “rhetorical strategies.” From what I can gather, these are the “tactics and strategies used by the author to create an effect on the reader.” Basically, Lisa is a literary critic, and she focuses on English-language novels and comic books because that’s all that my tiny brain can handle right now.
An Important Note About The Bio
I don’t want to give the wrong impression about Lisa, and I want to make sure that you know that this is more of a fan-based bio than an objective record of the authort’s life. Obviously, she is an important scholar in the world of Austen, and her work has had a huge impact on my own literary studies. But she is a trained biographer, and she definitely has a point of view. She also chose to write this bio in the third person, as if she was an outside expert on the subject, which I guess she kind of is. So just remember that these are her opinions, and not necessarily those of the Jane Austen or Elizabeth Taylor fan clubs.
A Very Short Bio
So here we are. I’m afraid that this is pretty much all that I can think of for now. As you can see, this bio is pretty short, considering that it has to cover not only my own opinion, but also the opinions of a literary critic. I know that this is a bit of a cheat, but I was on a bit of a deadline, and this was all that I could come up with on such short notice. I hope that it was worth it!