This is the latest accepted revision, reviewed on 31 July 2018. Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote Confessions, the first Western autobiography ever written, around 400. Portrait by Philippe de Champaigne, 17th century. See also: List of autobiographies and Is an autobiography written in first person:Autobiographies for examples.
Autobiographical works are by nature subjective. The inability—or unwillingness—of the author to accurately recall memories has in certain cases resulted in misleading or incorrect information. Some sociologists and psychologists have noted that autobiography offers the author the ability to recreate history. Spiritual autobiography is an account of an author’s struggle or journey towards God, followed by conversion a religious conversion, often interrupted by moments of regression.
The author re-frames his or her life as a demonstration of divine intention through encounters with the Divine. A memoir is slightly different in character from an autobiography. While an autobiography typically focuses on the “life and times” of the writer, a memoir has a narrower, more intimate focus on his or her own memories, feelings and emotions. Memoirs have often been written by politicians or military leaders as a way to record and publish an account of their public exploits. The term “fictional autobiography” signifies novels about a fictional character written as though the character were writing their own autobiography, meaning that the character is the first-person narrator and that the novel addresses both internal and external experiences of the character. Daniel Defoe’s Moll Flanders is an early example.
This section does not cite any sources. In antiquity such works were typically entitled apologia, purporting to be self-justification rather than self-documentation. In the spirit of Augustine’s Confessions is the 12th-century Historia Calamitatum of Peter Abelard, outstanding as an autobiographical document of its period. In the 15th century, Leonor López de Córdoba, a Spanish noblewoman, wrote her Memorias, which may be the first autobiography in Castillian.
African American woman to have a published biography in the United States. With the rise of education, cheap newspapers and cheap printing, modern concepts of fame and celebrity began to develop, and the beneficiaries of this were not slow to cash in on this by producing autobiographies. From the 17th century onwards, “scandalous memoirs” by supposed libertines, serving a public taste for titillation, have been frequently published. Autobiography has become an increasingly popular and widely accessible form.
A genre where the “claim for truth” overlaps with fictional elements though the work still purports to be autobiographical is autofiction. Look up autobiography in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Steve Mason, Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary. George Bull, The Autobiography, London 1966 p. The Three Worlds of Captain John Smith, Houghton Mifflin Co.
Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. The Turning Key: Autobiography and the Subjective Impulse Since 1800. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. Interpreting the Self: Autobiography in the Arabic Literary Tradition. The Confucian’s Progress: Autobiographical Writings in Traditional China.