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Writing Parents’ Lives: Facts and Its Narrative Ethics

Abstract: Parent Biography is written by the subject’s children and tends to provide lots of new, reliable and detailed materials. It may even be indispensible documents for other biographers. The special relationship between the subject and the biographer, however, invariably plunges the biographers into the same predicament. On the other hand, the ethical confinement gives birth to the common characters of this biographical genre, such as “looking up to the subject” in narration viewpoint, narration like “hero’s biography” and violation of historicity “to conceal the errors of the respected.” Li Nanyang’s I Have Such a Mother and Lao Gui’s Yang Mo, My Mother are both excellent works of this genre, living up to the narration principles that biographical ethics precede secular ethics.

Keywords: Parent Biography; historicity; ethics

Shi Jianguo, a Doctor of Literature, is Associate Professor at the School of Humanities, Shandong University. His research interest is in China’s contemporary literature. He has recently published Biography of Chen Hengzhe: A Singer Destined to a Life (2010), From New Cultural and Public Space to the “Exclusive Garden” of parties: Research on “the Republican Daily News: Awareness” (2014), etc.