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Biography Vs Autobiography

If you have a newly found interest in reading biographies and autobiographies. Then you are probably here to find out the difference between the two

Well, you are on the right page for that is exactly what this little article aims to do for you, giving you the difference between the two and also teaching you a thing or two about both, so you can decide which is your favorite among the two. 

So, if you are ready to learn a thing or two, read on:

Difference Between An Autobiography and Biography

  • The difference between the two is simple and lies in the fact that an autobiography is the life of an individual, written and told by himself. 
  • It is for this reason that one common feature of autobiographies is that they are incomplete. As they are told by a living person who is yet to enjoy many more life events. Which won’t go into his work at the moment. 
  • A biography, on the other hand, is a person’s life story, told by someone else. This can be incomplete too, if the person spoken about is still living. But you have biographies that are complete and narrate an entire life of a person too. 

Autobiography vs biography

Is Autobiography Written In the First Person?

  • Yes, as seen in the explanation above, this is the story of a person as told by himself, which means the narrative is always in the first person. 
  • In other words, reading an autobiography, you are going to find a lot of the words ‘I’, ‘my’, ‘me’, and ‘mine’ as this is the story told by the very person it is about. 

Rules Of An Autobiography

  • For one, it must include all the details of your life
  • Without missing out on the major events
  • Lest you lose trust in your reader who is going to think you are highlighting only those things you want him to know about you. 

Types Of Autobiography

Autobiography has four types. First, there are religious autobiographies like those of St Augustine and Thomas Kempe (which you cannot miss). These as the very name suggests are great works based on religion. 

Then, there are thematic autobiographies that are written with a particular purpose, like Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf which we wouldn’t recommend. 

Then, you have deeper intellectual autobiographies, which are more educational and follow a certain style of inquiry. 

Finally, there is the fiction-based autobiography, which a lot of readers enjoy as it takes the form of a novel and can thus be very engaging. This is the style often used in contemporary autobiographies today. 

These are not real-life stories but mostly made up but are nevertheless enjoyable, an example being Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. 

Example of An Autobiography 

One of the best examples that we can give you here is ‘My Experiments With Truth’.

  • Whether an Indian or not, you would have at some time come across this famous autobiography penned by the leader Mahatma Gandhi. 
  • Perhaps another one worth mentioning is ‘The Story of My Life’ penned by the heroic figure Hellen Keller. 
  • Go ahead and read these two and you will know what an autobiography is and what it does for you. 

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What Are the Five Types Of Biographies?

There are five types of biographies:

  1. Namely life history (which is the most common)
  2. Narrative biographies (which take the form of a story)
  3. Memoir (a collection of unusual experiences and events)
  4. Intellectual biography
  5. Scholarly chronicles. 

Who Writes A Biography?

A biography is usually written by someone who specializes in telling stories of other people’s lives. 

Are you one of them? Well then, read on to know some of the features of a biography. 

This is indeed time-consuming work that involves collaborating with these public figures and conducting an optimum amount of research. 

Three Features Of A Biography

  • One of the most important features of a biography is that it is based on facts, and these facts need to be real and accurate. The language here is more descriptive and yet with a good amount of narration in it. 
  • This can include details like a person’s childhood, family, and the other events that he went through in his life. This you can get from primary sources like a first-hand account provided by interviews, social media, and so on. 
  • And then, there are secondary sources too that you can rely on like documentaries and newspapers. 

Once done, form a timeline to structure all the information you want to present. Do not hesitate to add your thoughts to it. 

How Biography Is Written?

  • Anyone can write a biography and that includes you too. All you need is to find someone interesting that you want the world to know about. This can be anyone from a world-famous figure to your very own sibling. 
  • All you need is a good knowledge of all the events of the person’s life with everything from his achievements to his moments of adversity. 
  • Well, this is going to need some hard work and effort, but if you are interested and dedicated enough to persevere to the end, you too would have written a biography. 
  • However, make sure that you get the person’s permission after which you can set out to do all the right research to come up with the perfect work on the person’s life that curious readers can get their hands on. 

Who Is the Father of Biography?

Plutarch, they say, is the father of biographies. This is because it was he who influenced the evolution of this form of writing, inspiring authors. Like Shakespeare, Dryden, Emerson, and Rousseau. 

However, today we have a father of modern biography in the person of James Parton thanks to his many competent and well-researched works which are on the way to inspiring many modern and budding writers of today. 

Final Words

In short, we can say that a writer of biographies is someone with a love for people. And their lives and a passion to dig into. Also, share with the world the people they are interested in.

An autobiography, on the other hand, is something that a person sits down to write at some point in his life, as a result of a good amount of retrospecting, leading to a wealth of information that he finds important to share with the world, which includes you and me too. 

And that is how you differentiate between a biography and an autobiography. 


Q1: Why do we need to read an autobiography vs a biography of a person?

Ans: It tells you the important facts of the person’s life. Also, it performs an interesting way of other person behavior. Which led your mood happy. 

Q2: What is a life autobiography vs biography?

Ans: As we know the meaning of bio is life and graphy means written, so biography can be defined as the written history of life by someone. An autobiography can be simply defined as a self-written history of life.

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