A BIOGRAPHY, or simply BIO, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae (résumé ), a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality.
Biographical works are usually non-fiction , but fiction can also be used to portray a person's life. One in-depth form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing. Works in diverse media, from literature to film, form the genre known as biography.
An AUTHORIZED BIOGRAPHY is written with the permission, cooperation, and at times, participation of a subject or a subject's heirs. An AUTOBIOGRAPHY is written by the person himself or herself, sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator or ghostwriter .
* 1 History
* 1.1 Historical biography * 1.2 Emergence of the genre * 1.3 Modern biography * 1.4 Recent years * 1.5 Biographical research
* 2 Book awards * 3 See also
* 4 References
* 4.1 Citations * 4.2 Sources
At first, biographical writings were regarded merely as a subsection of history with a focus on a particular individual of historical importance. The independent genre of biography as distinct from general history writing, began to emerge in the 18th century and reached its contemporary form at the turn of the 20th century.
One of the earliest biographers was
Cornelius Nepos , who published
his work Excellentium Imperatorum Vitae ("Lives of outstanding
generals") in 44 BC. Longer and more extensive biographies were
written in Greek by
In the early
In Medieval Islamic Civilization (c. AD 750 to 1258), similar
traditional Muslim biographies of
By the late Middle Ages, biographies became less church-oriented in
Europe as biographies of kings , knights , and tyrants began to
appear. The most famous of such biographies was Le Morte d\'Arthur by
Thomas Malory . The book was an account of the life of the fabled
King Arthur and his
Knights of the Round Table . Following Malory, the
new emphasis on humanism during the
Biographies in the
Influential in shaping popular conceptions of pirates, A General History of the Pyrates (1724), by Charles Johnson, is the prime source for the biographies of many well-known pirates.
The American biography followed the English model, incorporating
EMERGENCE OF THE GENRE
The first modern biography, and a work which exerted considerable
influence on the evolution of the genre, was
Biographical writing generally stagnated during the 19th century - in many cases there was a reversal to the more familiar hagiographical method of eulogizing the dead, similar to the biographies of saints produced in Medieval times. A distinction between mass biography and literary biography began to form by the middle of the century, reflecting a breach between high culture and middle-class culture. However, the number of biographies in print experienced a rapid growth, thanks to an expanding reading public. This revolution in publishing made books available to a larger audience of readers. In addition, affordable paperback editions of popular biographies were published for the first time. Periodicals began publishing a sequence of biographical sketches.
Autobiographies became more popular, as with the rise of education
and cheap printing, modern concepts of fame and celebrity began to
develop. Autobiographies were written by authors, such as Charles
Dickens (who incorporated autobiographical elements in his novels) and
Anthony Trollope , (his
The sciences of psychology and sociology were ascendant at the turn of the 20th century and would heavily influence the new century’s biographies. The demise of the "great man" theory of history was indicative of the emerging mindset. Human behavior would be explained through Darwinian theories. "Sociological" biographies conceived of their subjects' actions as the result of the environment, and tended to downplay individuality. The development of psychoanalysis led to a more penetrating and comprehensive understanding of the biographical subject, and induced biographers to give more emphasis to childhood and adolescence . Clearly these psychological ideas were changing the way biographies were written, as a culture of autobiography developed, in which the telling of one's own story became a form of therapy. The conventional concept of heroes and narratives of success disappeared in the obsession with psychological explorations of personality. Eminent Victorians set the standard for 20th century biographical writing, when it was published in 1918.
Lytton Strachey revolutionized the art of biographical
writing with his 1918 work
Eminent Victorians , consisting of
biographies of four leading figures from the
Victorian era : Cardinal
In the 1920s and '30s, biographical writers sought to capitalize on
Strachey's popularity by imitating his style. This new school featured
iconoclasts, scientific analysts, and fictional biographers and
included Gamaliel Bradford ,
André Maurois , and
Emil Ludwig , among
Robert Graves (I, Claudius, 1934) stood out among those
following Strachey's model of "debunking biographies." The trend in
literary biography was accompanied in popular biography by a sort of
"celebrity voyeurism", in the early decades of the century. This
latter form's appeal to readers was based on curiosity more than
morality or patriotism. By
World War I
The feminist scholar Carolyn Heilbrun observed that women's biographies and autobiographies began to change character during the second wave of feminist activism. She cited Nancy Milford\'s 1970 biography Zelda, as the "beginning of a new period of women's biography, because " in 1970 were we ready to read not that Zelda had destroyed Fitzgerald , but Fitzgerald her: he had usurped her narrative." Heilbrun named 1973 as the turning point in women's autobiography, with the publication of May Sarton\'s Journal of a Solitude, for that was the first instance where a woman told her life story, not as finding "beauty even in pain" and transforming "rage into spiritual acceptance," but acknowledging what had previously been forbidden to women: their pain, their rage, and their "open admission of the desire for power and control over one's life."
In recent years, multimedia biography has become more popular than traditional literary forms. Along with documentary biographical films , Hollywood produced numerous commercial films based on the lives of famous people. The popularity of these forms of biography have led to the proliferation of TV channels dedicated to biography, including A it will be the way they remembered it. Debates have also arisen concerning the importance of space in life-writing.
Daniel R. Meister in 2017 argues that:
Biographical research is defined by Miller as a research method that collects and analyses a person's whole life, or portion of a life, through the in-depth and unstructured interview, or sometimes reinforced by semi-structured interview or personal documents. It is a way of viewing social life in procedural terms, rather than static terms. The information can come from "oral history, personal narrative, biography and autobiography” or "diaries, letters, memoranda and other materials". The central aim of biographical research is producing rich descriptions of persons or "conceptualise structural types of actions" which means to "understand the action logics or how persons and structures are interlinked". And this method can be used to understand an individual’s life within its social context or understand the cultural phenomena.
Several countries offer an annual prize for writing a biography such as the:
Drainie-Taylor Biography Prize – Canada
National Biography Award – Australia
* Pulitzer Prize for
* ^ Kendall . * ^ Nawas 2006 , p. 110. * ^ A General History of the Robberies & Murders of the most Notorious Pirates, by Charles Johnson. Introduction and commentary by David Cordingly . Conway Maritime Press (2002). * ^ A B C Casper 1999 . * ^ A B Stone 1982 . * ^ Butler, Paul (19 April 2012). "James Boswell\'s \'Life of Johnson\': The First Modern Biography". University of Mary Washington Libraries. Archived from the original on 11 November 2014. Retrieved 1 February 2016. * ^ Brocklehurst, Steven (16 May 2013). "James Boswell: The Man who Re-Invented Biography". BBC News. Retrieved 1 February 2016. * ^ "Literary Gossip". The Week. Toronto. 1 (1): 13. 6 December 1883. Retrieved 1 February 2016. * ^ Levy, Paul (20 July 2002). "A String Quartet in Four Movements". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 1 February 2016. * ^ Jones, Malcolm (28 October 2009). "Boswell, Johnson, & the Birth of Modern Biography". Newsweek. New York. ISSN 0028-9604 . Retrieved 31 January 2016. * ^ Heilbrun 1988 , pp. 12, 13. * ^ Manovich 2001 , p. 220. * ^ Hughes 2009 , p. 159. * ^ Frears, Stephen ; Derham, Katie ; Lee, Hermione ; Monk, Ray . The Art of Life: Are Biographies Fiction?. Institute of Arts and Ideas. Retrieved 1 February 2016. * ^ Regard 2003 . * ^ Daniel R. Meister, "The biographical turn and the case for historical biography" History Compass (Dec. 2017) DOI: 10.1111/hic3.12436 abstract * ^ Miller 2003 , p. 15. * ^ Roberts 2002 . * ^ Zinn 2004 , p. 3.
* Casper, Scott E. (1999). Constructing American Lives: Biography
and Culture in Nineteenth-Century America. Chapel Hill: University of
North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-4765-7 .
* Heilbrun, Carolyn G. (1988). Writing a Woman's Life. New York: W.
W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-02601-6 .
* Hughes, Kathryn (2009). "Review of Teaching Life Writing Texts,
ed. Miriam Fuchs and Craig Howes" (PDF). Journal of Historical
Biography. 5: 159–163. ISSN 1911-8538 . Retrieved 1 February 2016.
* Kendall, Paul Murray . "Biography".
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