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By Beverly Cleary

Generations of youngsters have grown up with Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby, and all in their buddies, households, and various pets. for everybody who has loved the pranks and schemes, embarrassing moments, and all the different poignant and colourful photos of youth delivered to existence in Beverly Cleary books, this is the interesting actual tale of the amazing lady who created them.

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The image of the marriage, however, carries with it additional implications. If the biographer is wedded to his subject, this suggests not merely his commitmentto serious research but also the reciprocation of the subject. An intimacy between subject and writer is implied which can be construed positively or negatively. A positive construction might argue that this empathy is a precondition of all good literary biography; a negative, that such reciprocation is wholly imaginary, self-seeking, a kind of aesthetic masturbation.

LO Everybody seemed to like the idea of not having a thesis. However, the phrase about 'not straining to solve all the mysteries of the man' occasioned considerable debate. My words were a quiet way of declaring that I eschew highly imaginative interpretation or speculation and certainly do not indulge in (terrible word) 'psychobiography'. Instead, I was announcing myself as a rather unobtrusive biographer. Of course I knew from the beginning that it was impossible to do anything other than write my own version of Trollope, that there is no single Trollope, that 'objectivity' is a word no longer used in regard to biography.

12 Viewed like this, the notion of the 'marriage' between biographer and subject is wilfully self-deceiving, the defense of the rapist or necrophile. It is easy to sympathize with the living writer persecuted by some parasite rooting about in her private life. For Greer, her friends' response to her tormentor's enquiries has become a test of their loyalty. 'Alllivinghumanbe ingshave the right to invent themselves. '14 She feels this particularly strongly because when her husband sold his version of her life, she made the mistake of reading it and nearly went mad.

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