An authoritative review of literary biography covering the seventeenth century to the twentieth century A Companion to Literary Biography offers a comprehensive account of literary biography spanning the history of the genre across three centuries. The editor – an esteemed literary biographer and noted expert in the field – has encouraged contributors to explore the theoretical and methodological questions raised by the writing of biographies of writers. The text examines how biographers have dealt with the lives of classic authors from Chaucer to contemporary figures such as Kingsley Amis. The Companion brings a new perspective on how literary biography enables the reader to deal with the relationship between the writer and their work. Literary biography is the most popular form of writing about writing, yet it has been largely neglected in the academic community. This volume bridges the gap between literary biography as a popular genre and its relevance for the academic study of literature. This important work: Allows the author of a biography to be treated as part of the process of interpretation and investigates biographical reading as an important aspect of criticism Examines the birth of literary biography at the close of the seventeenth century and considers its expansion through the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries Addresses the status and writing of literary biography from numerous perspectives and with regard to various sources, methodologies and theories Reviews the ways in which literary biography has played a role in our perception of writers in the mainstream of the English canon from Chaucer to the present day Written for students at the undergraduate level, through postgraduate and doctoral levels, as well as academics, A Companion to Literary Biography illustrates and accounts for the importance of the literary biography as a vital element of criticism and as an index to our perception of literary history.