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What is Biography ?

The word biography comes from the Greek words bios, which means “life” and graphia, which means “writing”. A biography is a description of a real person’s life, which includes details of events as well as stories from the person’s life. Biographies generally include information about the subject’s personality and motivations, and other types of intimate details excluded in a general description or profile of a person’s life.

The vast majority of biographical examples are written about people who are or were famous, such as politicians, actors, athletes, etc. However, some biographies can be written about people who lived incredible lives, but were not necessarily known. A biography can be labeled “authoritative” if the person being written about, or their family members, have given permission for a certain author to write the biography.

A biography is simply an account or detailed description of a person’s life. It involves basic facts, such as childhood, education, career, relationships, family and death. A biography is a literary genre that portrays the experiences of all these events that occur in a person’s life, primarily in a chronological order. Unlike a resume or profile, a biography provides a life story of a subject, highlighting different aspects of his or her life. A person who writes biographies is called a “biographer.

The Three Types of Biography

  • Autobiography: An autobiography tells the story of a person’s life. While that person writes his or her own story, he or she may receive guidance from a ghostwriter or collaborator.
  • Biography: A biography tells the story of a person’s life as written by another person or writer.
  • Memoirs: This is more focused writing than an autobiography or biography. In a memoir, a writer tells the details of a particular event or situation that occurred in his or her life.

Meaning of the Biography in Literature

The biography genre developed from other forms of historical non-fiction, choosing to focus on the experience of one specific person rather than all the major players. There are examples of biography from 44 B.C. when Roman biographer Cornelius Nepos wrote Excellentium Imperatorum Vitae (“Lives of Those Able to Rule”).

The Greek historian Plutarch was also famous for his biographies, creating a series of biographies of famous Greeks and Romans in his book Parallel Lives. After the printing press was created, one of the first bestsellers was Giorgio Vasari’s famous biography of 1550 Lives of the Artists.

The biography became very popular in the 18th century with the publication of James Boswell’s 1791 Life of Samuel Johnson. The biography remains one of the best-selling genres in literature, and has led to a series of literary awards specifically for this form.

An example of Biography is: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. Steve Jobs is one of the most famous cultural icons of modern America and, indeed, of the entire world, so his biography was eagerly awaited. The author, Walter Isaacson, was able to interview Jobs extensively during the writing process. Therefore, the above excerpt is possible when the writer is a character in the story, asking Jobs about his views on life and philosophy of the world.

Related Topics To Definitions in ALPHAPEDIA

Other Topics in ALPHAPEDIA

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