The History of Biography

Topics: James Boswell, Samuel Johnson, Writing Pages: 2 (506 words) Published: September 11, 2013
The History of the Biography

A biography is an in-depth description or account of a person's life. It contains more than basic facts; education, work, relationships, and death. A biography also portrays a subject's experience of these events. Unlike a profile or résumé, a biography presents a subject's life story, giving you an insight into various aspects of their life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality. Biographical works are mostly non-fiction, but fictional biographies can also be used to portray a (fictional) person's life. One in-depth form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing. Works in the media transformed the biographies — from books to movies — form the genre known as biography.* An authorized biography is written with the permission, cooperation, and, occasionally, participation of a subject or a subject's children. An autobiography is written by the person themselves, sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator or ghost-writer. A Ghost writer is effectively, someone who follows you almost everywhere you go, and writes it down. Then, with the conformation of the person themselves, adds it into the biography that he or she is writing. One of the best known biographies, “Life of Samuel Johnson" (1791), was written by James Boswell chronicling the life of his friend Doctor Samuel Johnson. The modern Johnsonian critic Harold Bloom has claimed it is the greatest biography written in the English language. This however, was not the first biography recorded. The earliest biographies that we have physical evidence of are detailed accounts of people from the Muslim world, from the 9th century onwards. Nowadays, the biography is one of the most common books published, and almost anyone can have one written about them by merely hiring someone to write it for them. This captures the evolution of biographies, because in the early 1700s, you had to be rich and very affluent to...
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