biography


biography
biography, life, memoir, autobiography, confessions are comparable when they mean a more or less detailed account of the events and circumstances of a person's life.
Biography is the technical, neutral term for this kind of writing or for an example of it; the term suggests neither length nor brevity of treatment, neither factuality nor interpretation of facts, neither partisanship nor detachment, for it may be characterized by any of these qualities, but it does imply that the course of a career is covered at least in its main events
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the official biography . . . written by his son is still in print and easily available— Nock

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Lytton Strachey's biography of Queen Victoria restricts itself to the facts which develop his conception of her

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Life usually suggests a fuller and more intimate treatment than biography; a work so designated may, however, be written on a brief scale or be drawn out so that very little is escaped. Life is often used in place of biography when the author especially wishes to suggest a vivid or graphic or interpretive account or to imply the addition of firsthand material (as letters or a journal); the term is also often used in the combination "life and times" as the title for a biography placing the subject in the background of his period
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Bosweirs Life of Dr. Johnson

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Ray Stannard Baker's Life and Letters of Woodrow Wilson

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Life and Times of Jesus by J. F. Clarke

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Memoir (or often the plural memoirs) refers to a biography written by one who has intimate knowledge of its details; although it does not necessarily imply that the subject of the biography is the writer, it very frequently does so. Also, memoir may suggest reminiscences of a whole or of part of a life; the term therefore carries no promise of completeness, or fullness, but it does connote a more personal approach than biography or, usually, than life
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Hallam Tennyson's biography of his father is called Alfred, Lord Tennyson: A Memoir

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its spirit is so devout as to make it almost more a memoir than a biog-raphy— Nock

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Autobiography refers to a biography of oneself typically written toward the end of one's life or at the completion of one's active career. Autobiography usually implies some distinction in the writer and a demand for or the desire to give information about the personalities and events of his time or about the background of the events in which he has played a part. The term is seldom used in the titles of books and is preferred as a designation of a type
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My Life is Havelock Ellis's autobiography

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what would we give for such an autobiography of Shakespeare— Carlyle

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Confessions as a type belong to the genre of autobiography. Confessions are usually written by a person who desires to avow fully the experiences of his life, both shameful and creditable. The motive of such a book is as varied as the books themselves; thus, to give extremes, the Confessions of St. Augustine were written for the glorification of God, who has brought him out of a life of sin; the Confessions of Rousseau were written to reveal truly and sincerely all his experiences without reference to the opinions of men
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De Quincey's Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

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New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Biography — Bi*og ra*phy, n.; pl. {Biographies}. [Gr. ?; bi os life + ? to write: cf. F. biographie. See {Graphic}.] 1. The written history of a person s life. [1913 Webster] 2. Biographical writings in general. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • biography — (n.) 1680s, probably from L. biographia, from Late Gk. biographia description of life, from Gk. bio life (see BIO (Cf. bio )) + graphia record, account (see GRAPHY (Cf. graphy)). Biographia was not in classical Greek (bios alone was the word for… …   Etymology dictionary

  • biography — [n] account of person’s life adventures, autobiography, bio, biog, close up, confessions, diary, experiences, journal, letters, life, life history, life story, memoir, personal account, personal anecdote, personal narrative, personal record,… …   New thesaurus

  • biography — ► NOUN (pl. biographies) ▪ an account of a person s life written by someone else. DERIVATIVES biographer noun biographic adjective biographical adjective …   English terms dictionary

  • biography — [bī äg′rə fē; ] also [ bēäg′rə fē] n. [Gr biographia: see BIO & GRAPHY] 1. the histories of individual lives, considered as a branch of literature 2. pl. biographies an account of a person s life, described by another; life story …   English World dictionary

  • biography — /buy og reuh fee, bee /, n., pl. biographies. 1. a written account of another person s life: the biography of Byron by Marchand. 2. an account in biographical form of an organization, society, theater, animal, etc. 3. such writings collectively.… …   Universalium

  • Biography — For other uses, see Biography (disambiguation). For the Wikipedia policy on biographies of living persons, see Wikipedia:Biographies of living persons. Adi Holzer: Life (1997). The life is like a …   Wikipedia

  • biography —    The biography industry since 1960 has been remarkable in terms of its high quality, its continuity with past traditions, the distinctive nature of its topical variety and its sheer range of subjects. Standards and productivity have been high,… …   Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture

  • biography — noun ADJECTIVE ▪ authorized, official ▪ unauthorized, unofficial ▪ brief, potted (BrE), short ▪ …   Collocations dictionary

  • biography — [[t]baɪɒ̱grəfi[/t]] biographies 1) N COUNT: oft with poss A biography of someone is an account of their life, written by someone else. 2) N UNCOUNT Biography is the branch of literature which deals with accounts of people s lives. ...a volume of… …   English dictionary


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