A bumper crop of new literary biographies makes clear that contemporary readers find writers lives just as fascinating as their novels and poems. In this hour of To the Best of Our Knowledge, Samuel Clemens' biographer tries to rest his subject away from Mark Twain. Robert Frost's biographer reveals the secret agenda behind the authorized version. And we'll look in on Bloomsbury and the tormented life of Virginia Woolf.
Andrew Hoffman is the author of "Inventing Mark Twain: The Lives of Samuel Langhorne Clemens." He tells Steve Paulson that Clemens created the Twain persona to overcome his own sense of personal inadequacy and to counter his reactionary tendencies. He came to resent Twain's phenomenal success and wished he could gain public acclaim in his own name.SEGMENT 2:
Jeffrey Meyers tells Jim Fleming that Robert Frost's official biographer had it in for him because they shared a mistress, and that people have long ignored the sexual symbolism of Frost's work. Meyers has published a new biography of Frost. Also, Hermione Lee has written a biography of Virginia Woolf. She tells Jim Fleming that her subject was manic depressive, should not be seen solely in terms of her suicide, and enjoyed a happy marriage to Leonard Woolf.SEGMENT 3:
Alberto Manguel talks with Judith Strasser about when authors' lives became important to readers; says that the writer's intentions can never be understood, even by the writer; and tells a really funny story about hearing Pablo Neruda read his own work. Manguel is the author of "A History of Reading."
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