Crafting An Eloquent Beginning

December 13, 2008 | The University

John Jay College Associate Professor John Matteson, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for his book “Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father,” compares the beginning of biography to the overture in an opera. “The opening paragraph should reflect the character of the subject, the way the music of a great aria fits the mood of the words being sung,” said Prof. Matteson, who read from “Herman Melville: A Biography (Volume I),” by Hershel Parker, at an event entitled “An Eloquent Beginning,” hosted by the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the Graduate Center. Prof. Matteson, fellow Pulitzer Prize honorees David Levering Lewis and Annalyn Swan, and other authors read at the event.

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