We explain what autobiography is and what its general characteristics are. In addition, the differences with the biography, memory and novel.
The autobiography is a story of a life or part of it, told by the person who lived it and from their own perspective. It shows events that you consider important or fundamental in your life , be it from your childhood , adolescence or adulthood .
Autobiography is considered a literary genre , often located on the border between history and literature , since it narrates real events but does so from a subjective, authorial approach. It is also related to the biography , the chronicle , the private diary, and other confessional genres of writing .
At present there is an important reading market for autobiography , especially that of public personalities, celebrities or famous people in history. In their vital accounts they usually look for some kind of teaching, world view or intimate revelation.
The term was first used in English: autobiography , in early 19th century England , in an article by the poet Robert Southey. However, other sources accuse the German philosopher Friedrich Schlegel of having used it in his essays in 1789.
Within the literary arts, the autobiographical genre, as well as the biographical one, are among the written works of non-fiction , at the opposite extreme to narrative fiction, with which it nevertheless shares prose. It is closer to journalistic genres , since it is based on a presumption of authenticity in what is reported by the autobiographer.
That means that exaggeration, subjective description, and eventually fictionalization of certain events, may well find their place in the autobiography. Otherwise, the autobiography can be written as its author prefers.
From an autobiography, as we have said, a certain fidelity and authenticity of the events is expected , although not so much with respect to the meticulous historical fidelity, as to its very personal approach to the events narrated. This means that the autobiography should not look for exactitudes and historical truths, but rather intimate, subjective truths that have served the author to narrate the relevant events of his own life journey.
In many autobiographies it is exaggerated or simply lies , as is the famous case of I need love (1992) delirious autobiography of the actor Klaus Kinski.
As in contemporary literary works, there is no length requirement for autobiography. It can be as long as you like and can contain as many chapters as the author thinks best.
Distinguishing between autobiography and books of memories or confessions is more complicated. Both genres are non-fiction and address the life of the author and narrator himself, but the autobiography is usually more complete , more encompassing within the author's life, while the memoirs are usually restricted to a specific moment or a specific event, without going beyond. Both terms are often used synonymously.
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