Difference Between Biography and Autobiography

Difference Between Biography and Autobiography

A biography is a biography of a person written by another person, while an autobiography is an expression of a person’s life written by himself. It is these two traditional literary forms that describe a sketch of a person’s character and way of life.

Both present views, what happened in the past and where the author lived. It is a non-fiction book written in chronological order that tells about people who made significant contributions in a particular field. Many think that these two forms of terms are one and the same, but there are striking differences between the two, which are presented in this article.

Comparison Chart

Definition Biography refers to a story that tells the life story of another person. Autobiography means a person who tells his own life story.
Authorization Can be written, with or without the subject’s permission. Not needed
Posted in The third person First person
Destination To inform To disclose and inform
View Based on the facts collected by the author. Full of emotions and thoughts.

What is a Biography?

A biography also referred to as a ‘bio’ is a detailed record of a person’s life that is written or produced by another person. It provides detailed information about the place of birth, educational background, occupation, relationship and death of the person concerned. It presents the subject’s intimate details about life with a focus on the ups and downs and analyzing their entire personality.

Biographies are usually in written form but can also take other forms from musical or literary compositions to film interpretations.

It is a recreation of one’s life made up of words by others. The author collects every detail about the subject and presents those facts in a relevant and interesting biography to captivate the reader in the story.

What is an Autobiography?

An autobiography is a sketch of a person’s life written by that person himself. The word auto means ‘self’. Therefore, the Autobiography contains all the elements of a biography but is compiled or narrated by the author himself. He may write himself or hire ghostwriters to write for them.

The autobiography presents a sketch of the narrator’s character, where he was born and raised, his education, occupation, life experiences, challenges, and accomplishments. This may include childhood, youth, and adult events and stories.

Difference Between Biography and Autobiography

  1. A biography is a detailed description of a person’s life written by someone else, whereas an autobiography is written by the subject himself.

  2. Biography can be written with (authorized) or without permission (illegitimate) from the person/heir concerned. Therefore, there may be factual errors in the information. On the other hand, Autobiography is self-written and therefore does not require any authorization.

  3. A biography contains information collected over a certain period of time from different sources and thus, it projects different views to its readers. On the other hand, Autobiography is written by the subject himself, therefore the author presents his facts and thoughts in his own way, thereby giving the reader a narrow and biased perspective as a whole.

  4. In Autobiography, the author uses the first narration like I, I, we, he, he, etc. This, in turn, creates a close relationship between the writer and the reader because the reader experiences various aspects as if he were in that time period. The opposite of a biography is from a third person perspective and is much less intimate.

  5. The purpose of writing a biography is to introduce and inform the reader about the person and his life whereas an autobiography is written to reveal, the life experiences and achievements of the narrator.

There are several Autobiographies worth mentioning such as ‘The Story of My Life’ by Helen Keller, ‘An Autobiography’ by Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ by Anne Frank, ‘Memoirs of the Second World War’ by Winston Churchill, ‘Wings of Fire’ by APJ Abdul Kalam and more.

Examples of some famous biographies are- Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett, His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis, Einstein: The Life and Times by Ronald William Clark, Biography of Walt Disney: The Inspirational Life Story of Walt Disney – The Man Behind “Disneyland” by Steve Walters, Princess Diana- Biography of the Princess of Wales by Drew L. Crichton.

Those are some of the differences between a biography and an autobiography. Hopefully this article is useful for those of you who need it. Thank you for visiting and don’t forget to share it with your friends too.

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