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Chapter 1 (Uncovering...) [pdf]
Chapter Titles

Introductory Comments on

Uncovering Lives: The Uneasy Alliance of Biography and Psychology

Uncovering Lives: The Uneasy Alliance of Biography and Psychology was published by Oxford University Press in a hardcover edition in 1994, and in a trade paperback edition in 1997. The hardcover edition is officially out of print, though mint copies turn up now and then on the Web. The trade paperback edition is still available as a Print-on-Demand book, ordered through your local independent bookstore or, or directly from Oxford University Press at

I wrote Uncovering Lives to satisfy several goals simultaneously. It’s intended to serve as a handbook-with-examples for other people who want to write a psychobiography. It’s intended to persuade other psychologists that psychobiography is a valid approach (among many valid approaches) to the systematic study of the whole personality. It’s intended to help nonprofessional readers of biographies and psychobiographies to appreciate the finer points and the grosser defects of the books they read about individual lives. And it’s intended to be fun to read, all by itself. Originally I planned to title it One Life at a Time: Adventures in Psychobiography, to emphasize that final goal. But my editor, as well as the OUP sales division, wanted a more serious-sounding title, so we finally came up with the one you see above.

When you click on the links in the left-hand column, you won’t get the book itself, but you will find:

    The dust-jacket covers for both the hardcover edition and the trade paperback edition (as soon as I get them up on this web page).

    The contents page (Chapter Titles), with a summary of each chapter.

    A sample chapter (Chapter One), reprinted here in its entirety by permission of Oxford University Press.

    Excerpts from several of the published reviews. The published reviews were, on the whole, quite favorable, and the excerpts are a fair sampling of their content. A couple of reviewers strongly disapproved of the whole idea of psychobiography; I’ll leave you to find their reviews elsewhere, if you really want to look for them.

--   Alan Elms 

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