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Confessions will always rank among the great masterpieces of western literature. In the spirit of Augustine's Confessions is the 12th-century Historia Calamitatum of Peter Abelard , outstanding as an autobiographical document of its period. One of the first great autobiographies of the Renaissance is that of the sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini — , written between and , and entitled by him simply Vita Italian : Life. He declares at the start: "No matter what sort he is, everyone who has to his credit what are or really seem great achievements, if he cares for truth and goodness, ought to write the story of his own life in his own hand; but no one should venture on such a splendid undertaking before he is over forty.
Another autobiography of the period is De vita propria , by the Italian mathematician, physician and astrologer Gerolamo Cardano It is often claimed that the earliest known autobiography in English is the early 15th-century Book of Margery Kempe , describing among other things Kempe's pilgrimage to the Holy Land and visit to Rome although it is, at best, only a partial autobiography and arguably more a memoir of religious experiences.
The book remained in manuscript and was not published until Possibly the first publicly available autobiography written in English was Captain John Smith's autobiography published in  which was regarded by many as not much more than a collection of tall tales told by someone of doubtful veracity. This changed with the publication of Philip Barbour's definitive biography in which, amongst other things, established independent factual bases for many of Smith's "tall tales", many of which could not have been known by Smith at the time of writing unless he was actually present at the events recounted.
Jarena Lee — was the first African American woman to have a published biography in the United States. Following the trend of Romanticism , which greatly emphasized the role and the nature of the individual, and in the footsteps of Jean-Jacques Rousseau 's Confessions , a more intimate form of autobiography, exploring the subject's emotions, came into fashion. Stendhal 's autobiographical writings of the s, The Life of Henry Brulard and Memoirs of an Egotist , are both avowedly influenced by Rousseau.
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. It became the expectation—rather than the exception—that those in the public eye should write about themselves—not only writers such as Charles Dickens who also incorporated autobiographical elements in his novels and Anthony Trollope , but also politicians e.
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Henry Brooks Adams , philosophers e. Increasingly, in accordance with romantic taste, these accounts also began to deal, amongst other topics, with aspects of childhood and upbringing—far removed from the principles of "Cellinian" autobiography. From the 17th century onwards, "scandalous memoirs" by supposed libertines , serving a public taste for titillation, have been frequently published.
Typically pseudonymous , they were and are largely works of fiction written by ghostwriters. So-called "autobiographies" of modern professional athletes and media celebrities—and to a lesser extent about politicians—generally written by a ghostwriter , are routinely published. Some celebrities, such as Naomi Campbell , admit to not having read their "autobiographies".
Autobiography has become an increasingly popular and widely accessible form. Maggie Nelson 's book The Argonauts is one of the recent autobiographies. Maggie Nelson calls it "autotheory"—a combination of autobiography and critical theory. A genre where the "claim for truth" overlaps with fictional elements though the work still purports to be autobiographical is autofiction. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
Self-written biography. For other uses, see Autobiography disambiguation.
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- Das Geheimnis. Eine fast unglaubliche Tessiner Geschichte (Tessiner KLurzgeschichten 3) (German Edition).
- AUTOBIOGRAPHY | meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary.
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Tony Blair's autobiography was a bestseller. Compare biography. His life story is recounted in two fascinating volumes of autobiography. Books: kinds of books. You can also find related words, phrases, and synonyms in the topics: Types of film, play, book etc. Related words autobiographer noun. Examples of autobiography. Critics often applaud rock autobiographies that go at least partially ' against type'. From Cambridge English Corpus. First, rock autobiographies typically disclose previously uncirculated or private stories from an ' insider' point of view.
These examples are from the Cambridge English Corpus and from sources on the web.
Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors. On a more general level, this book points to the perennial difficulties that confront historians who try to incorporate autobiographies in their studies.
Not surprisingly, readers generally want to read new stories too, seeing them as a positive feature of rock autobiographies. Indeed, this process shapes one of the criteria by which they judge rock autobiographies. In the first session participants wr ite and share language autobiographies. Even where less tendentious autobiographies are involved, a lifetime's reading is a heterogeneous business that must often defy the powers of an autobiographer's memory. Her evidence is drawn from a huge variety of plays, letters, prose fictions, biographies, autobiographies, and journalism.
All of these autobiographies have the character of survival stories.