Claire Tomalin and Several Strangers

  • Jane McVeigh


This chapter discusses how Claire Tomalin’s writing applies literary strategies to represent aspects of her subjects’ characters, including the performativity inherent in their lives. She creates dramatic scenes that often represent a key moment or turning point, and subverts the use of chronological time in biography. Tomalin speculates when facts are missing, whilst approaching the use of autobiographical evidence with caution. Her subjects are understood in the terms of their relationships and the historical and cultural contexts in which their life-stories are framed, in order to enhance our understanding of the past and inform our present. Finally, her work is rooted in her commitment to feminism and the lives of her women subjects. The chapter ends with a conversation with Tomalin.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Roehampton UniversityLondonUK

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