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Autobiografiction

Autobiografiction is a literary fiction genre that blends autobiography with fiction; it fictionalizes autobiographical experiences, often by altering them, attributing them to fictional characters or reinventing them into other experiences. The concept of autobiografiction was invented by Stephen Reynolds in 1906, and then researched and described in depth by Max Saunders in 2010.

Autobiography

See also: List of autobiographies and Category:Autobiographies for examples. An autobiography is a self-written account of the life of oneself. The word "autobiography" was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid, but condemned it as "pedantic". However, its next recorded use was in its present sense, by Robert Southey in 1809. Despite only being named early in the nineteenth century, first-person autobiographical writing originates in antiquity. Roy Pascal differentiates autobiography from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing by noting that is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, while the diary, however reflective it may be, moves through a series of moments in time". Autobiography thus takes stock of the autobiographers life from the moment of composition. While biographers generally rely on a wide variety of documents and viewpoints, autobiography may be based entirely on the writers memory. The memoir form is closely associated with autobiography but it tends, as Pascal claims, to focus less on the self and more on others during the autobiographers review of his or her life.

Biographical criticism

Biographical criticism is a form of literary criticism which analyzes a writers biography to show the relationship between the authors life and their works of literature. Biographical criticism is often associated with historical-biographical criticism, a critical method that "sees a literary work chiefly, if not exclusively, as a reflection of its authors life and times". This longstanding critical method dates back at least to the Renaissance period, and was employed extensively by Samuel Johnson in his Lives of the Poets 1779–81. Like any critical methodology, biographical criticism can be used with discretion and insight or employed as a superficial shortcut to understanding the literary work on its own terms through such strategies as Formalism. Hence 19th century biographical criticism came under disapproval by the so-called New Critics of the 1920s, who coined the term "biographical fallacy" to describe criticism that neglected the imaginative genesis of literature. Notwithstanding this critique, biographical criticism remained a significant mode of literary inquiry throughout the 20th century, particularly in studies of Charles Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others. The method continues to be employed in the study of such authors as John Steinbeck, Walt Whitman and William Shakespeare.

Biographical evaluation

Biographical evaluation, literally meaning Knowledge of Men but more commonly understood as the Science of Narration, refers to a discipline of Islamic religious studies within hadith terminology in which the narrators of hadith are evaluated. Its goal is to distinguish authentic and reliable hadiths from unreliable hadiths in establishing the credibility of the narrators, using both historic and religious knowledge. `Ilm ar-rijal is synonymous with what is commonly referred to as al-jarh wa al-tadīl – the criticism and declared acceptance of hadith narrators.

Biographical novel

The biographical novel is a genre of novel which provides a fictional account of a contemporary or historical persons life. This kind of novel concentrates on the experiences a person had during his lifetime, the people they met and the incidents which occurred. Like other forms of biographical fiction, details are often trimmed or reimagined to meet the artistic needs of the fictional genre, the novel. These reimagined biographies are sometimes called semi-biographical novels, to distinguish the relative historicity of the work from other biographical novels Some biographical novels bearing only superficial resemblance to the historical novels or introducing elements of other genres that supersede the retelling of the historical narrative, for example Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter follows the plot devices of a vampire fiction closely. Biographical fiction often also falls within the genres of historical fiction or alternative history. Some novels that are known best for their fictional prowess, but include extensive biographical information that is less obvious to readers. A very good example of this kind is Goldsmiths "The Vicar of Wakefield" and is believed to be the biography of a person the author had known and observed very closely. Biographical novels are frequently the foundation for film adaptations into the filmographic genre of biographical film. For more reflection on the different types of biographical information used in literature, see Biography in literature.

Biography in literature

When studying literature, biography and its relationship to literature is often a subject of literary criticism, and is treated in several different forms. Two scholarly approaches use biography or biographical approaches to the past as a tool for interpreting literature: literary biography and biographical criticism. Additionally, two genres of fiction rely heavily on the incorporation of biographical elements into their content, biographical fiction and autobiographical fiction.

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