I'd like to speak with Victorianists who have written biographies about 19th century subjects—and who happen to have read Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs. I am preparing a piece for the New York Times on the difficulties of writing deeply about the lives of contemporary figures—Steve Jobs, in particular.
I would guess that much, much richer biographies have been written about relatively unknown figures in Victorian England who lived, say, in the 1870s, than will ever be written about Jobs, even though he is the dominant business figure in our Information Age—a misnomer when it comes to biography.
What is missing today, in the post-epistolary time in which Jobs grew up and built his career, are contemporaneous records of his thoughts, and those of his family members, friends, and colleagues. Without those, we cannot know much about Steve Jobs's interior life or of those around him.
I seek the help of Victorianists who have written biographies and can show that inner lives were well-preserved in the Victorian period. I'd like also to look at Isaacson's biography from a Victorianist's perspective.
I write the Digital Domain column for the Sunday edition of the Times and have a day job as a professor of business at San Jose State University. In a former professional life, I was trained as a historian. This project is for an upcoming Times column.
If this piques your interest and you'd be willing to help, kindly send me an email. Thanks very much.
Digital Domain columnist
New York Times