While each of these forms of writing illuminates the life, work, and worldview of an individual, they are differentiated by the degree of objectivity and factual content, as well stylistic approaches and perspectives.
Note: The below definitions are from the Oxford English Dictionary [electronic resource.]
Autobiography, n. –
Typically in book form, an autobiography is an account of a person’s life told by the himself or herself. An autobiography tends to be a more general history, while a memoir focuses on a specific piece of the author's life.
Biography, n. –
A biography is a written account (although it may come in other forms such as recorded or visual media) of events and circumstances of another person’s life. Most commonly written about a historical or public figure, it profiles a person’s life or life’s work.
Diary, n. –
A daily record of personal matters, transactions or events affecting the writer personally or the result of the author’s observations.
Journal, adj. AND n. –
Often referring to a more detailed account than that of a diary, a journal contains events or matters of personal interest, kept for one’s own use. Either in the form of daily accounts or entries for when events occur.
Memoir, n. –
A record of events or history from the personal knowledge, experience, perspective or special source information of the author. Frequently include autobiographic reminiscences. Memoirs tend to cover in detail a specific aspect of an author's life, while an autobiography is a more general history.
Narrative, n. –
Such an essay tells a story about a personal experience. This writing form is interested with language, character development, description, etc. to illustrate the story being conveyed and the purpose of narrating it.
Purdue Online Writing Lab
Expository, n. –
This is a genre of essay that requires the author to research an idea, make original observations and present an argument based on evidence in a clear and concise manner.
Purdue Online Writing Lab
Oral history, n. –
A story or collection of stories or past events that have been passed down by word of mouth. Sometimes including record oral histories, this form of history relies on compiling recollections from people who were told these histories or whom lived these stories.
Conducting Oral Histories with Veterans
In recent years, publishers have avoided classifying life stories as “autobiographies”, with the attendant expectation of editorial fact-checking. By using a classification such as “memoir” or “personal essay” or “narrative”, a number of works later determined to be mostly or entirely fictional have been initially presented as nonfiction (e.g. A Thousand Little Pieces by James Frey). As when evaluating other research materials, it is important to consider whether the author is objective and complete in his or her writing.
In addition, only a biographer writing after the subject’s death is able to relate the events surrounding the death and the post-death consensus as to the individual’s significance.
Nonetheless, the personal narrative, even if subjective or incomplete, may add to one’s understanding of the individual’s values and viewpoint.
For briefer articles on individuals, try the biographies contained in print and online reference works, including:
Below are some library resources on interpreting the various forms of life writing.
- Jolly, Margaretta. Encyclopedia of life writing [electronic resource] : autobiographical and biographical forms. London : Fitzroy Dearborn/Routledge, 2001. [Credo Reference]
- Wolfreys, Julian. Critical keywords in literary and cultural theory. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2004. [PN44.5.W64 2004]
- Cuddon, J.A. ; Preston, C.E.. (rev.) A dictionary of literary terms and literary theory. Malden, Mass. : Blackwell, 1998. [REF PN41 .C83 1998]
- Turco, Lewis. The book of literary terms : the genres of fiction, drama, nonfiction, literary criticism, and scholarship. Hanover, NH : University Press of New England, c1999. [PN44.5.T87 1999]
- Spengemann, William C. The forms of autobiography : episodes in the history of a literary genre. New Haven : Yale University Press, 1980. [CT25.S63 1980]
- Memories are made of this - and that
Transcript of AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY COMPARISON
AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND BIOGRAPHY COMPARISON
An Autobiography is a story about a person written by the same person.
It is a first-person account and sometimes the story can be highly personalized. It may include photos about the person's events or newspaper articles showing what the person accomplished and what were the news about him/her.
A Biography is the story of someone's life but it is written by someone else that studied that person's life. This stories normally have accurate history about the person's life and makes reflection about the time and place in which the person's events happened. It is also written in chronological time.
One similarity between an Autobiography and a Biography is that they both write about a person's life. Also, the historical facts in the person's life have to be accurate and they are normally written in chronological time.
The main differences between an autobiography and a biography are, first of all, biography is written by a person that studied a lot about another and a autobiography is written by himself/herself.Another main difference is that in a biography the author has to strictly study the persons life while in a autobiography the person enjoys more the writing.
Similarites and differences between Autobiography and Biography
For example: in a book called "Who Was Dr. Seuss?", someone called Janet Pascal, wrote the story. Unlike an autobiography, Nelson Mandela wrote the book, "Nelson Mandela", by himself. Even though, autobiographies and biographies seem similar, there are main differences that make them different types of writing.
Barnes and Nobles” BarnesandNobles.com 27 August 2013
Routman, Reggie. “Genre Characteristics” ux1.eiu.edu 27 August 2013
By: Alejandro Char
It was the day; the 27 of July, 2001. At 8:38 pm, at the city of Miami in the Jackson Hospital, one mom was giving birth to a wonderful child. My name: Alejandro Char, son of Alejandro Char and Katia Nule. I was born in the city of Miami, but at one week I was back at Colombia to visit my dad and all of my family. Since the day I visited Colombia, my life began and I got educated since then. Even though I had another sister, I enjoyed my only child life until my sister was born one year and a half later, on a 3rd of December, 2002.
Before I entered school, I went to other Kindergartens called “Baby Gym” and “Caritas Alegres”. When I entered school, I was 3 years old and it was when I met most of my friends. As I grew, I started to feel passion for sports, for example, soccer and tennis were the ones I played more as a child. When I was in pre-school, the only thing I did in all the day was kick soccer balls all the day, in the school and in my house too. When I entered elementary, things in school got harder because I had to study in school two more hours. But, I felt the same passion for sports.
Always, my favorite soccer team has been Junior, the Barranquilla team. It has won seven championships and is looking for more. Talking about teams and players, I got interested in tennis because of a great all-time player called Roger Federer. He inspired me to start playing tennis in second grade, and that’s where my tennis carrier begins. I practiced both, soccer and tennis in the country club, during third grade. Two days I had soccer practice, and the other two days I practiced tennis. But, after that, I went to practice at, “La Liga De Tenis del Atlantico”, where tennis practices were more intense. Since that moment, I felt more passion in tennis than soccer. So, by the start of fourth grade, I practiced tennis six hours a week.
I did all of fourth grade playing tennis intensely, while soccer was only one day a week. When I got to fifth grade I made a decision that, in my opinion, changed a lot in my life: I decided to just focus on playing tennis and taking no more soccer practices. So, since that moment, I only practiced tennis and started playing national tennis tournaments. During fifth grade period I got to some semifinals and doubles finals. But, when I entered sixth grade, I started playing bigger, better, stronger, and with more power. And after that I’ve won 5 double championships and I have reached 3 singles finals. This, for me, is a great achievement, but I have the rest of my life to play.
So, my life has only been lived 12 years, and I have much more to live during my life. And the last thing I’ve done, was telling you my story in Mrs. Van Loo’s class….