Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Autobiography and Biography

books-dbAutobiography and biography are both account of a particular individual’s life. The factuality of either one is not necessarily relevant in these terms, though generally it is distinguished in the description of most autobiographical and biographical works. There are also a number of subtleties to consider in the distinguishing between these.

An autobiography is technically a work that describes a life that is created by that individual. In general this refers to a book that is written by the individual about their life. Autobiographies can vary in their artistic and reporting approach. Some may be intentionally entertaining and other intentionally informative. Typically they are intended to be fairly accurate regarding hard facts. Something that is common among some autobiographies is the work of a ghost-writer. A ghost writer may have a varying role in different projects. For example in one work they may simply create an outline or edit a work. In others,  they may actually help in the writing of the text. Usually if a ghost-writer writes the entire book you would expect the work to be labeled a biography.

A biography is also a work that describes a life. These works however are created by an individual other than the individual that the work is about. Biographies are typically considered to be accurate in regard to hard facts also. These works however are instances where differences even in the reporting of hard facts become evident. Some biographies, especially when written about living individuals can be the cause of controversy and the terming ‘unauthorized biography’ has become rather common. These distinctions and the greater possibility of revealing unwanted information attract a number of individuals to biographies for reading. Biographies can be written by anyone and about anyone. As a result it is less common that ghost-writers work on biographies, but it isn’t unheard of.

Autobiographies and biographies can provide information that is collected through time consuming research. It can inform an audience and bring them closer to the people they want to know. Many however, shouldn’t be considered the same types of reference works as encyclopedias and dictionaries.


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