During the course of the 2008 presidential election in the United States, candidates, voters, journalists, pundits, and campaign operatives engaged directly and indirectly in an extended national debate about auto/biographical storytelling, its generic forms, its grounds of authenticity, its routes of circulation, and its afterlives in various media. In the wake of that election, scholars have been probing the conjunctions of personal discourse and political discourse, autobiographical acts, and the "theater" of politics. This introduction situates contributions to this special issue of Biography in the context of three broad themes: the personalization of politics over the last five decades, with its mobilization of the personal story to suture political persona and national fable; the social action of genre in constituting political publics, in such diverse genres as television reality shows, blogs, and national biography; and the archives of the fragment animating strategic biographism and scholarly methodology.


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pp. v-xxvi
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