Biografija, istorija života.
ETYM Greek bio life + graphein to write: cf. French biographie. Related to Graphic.
An account of the series of events making up a person's life; SYN. life, life story, life history.
Account of a person's life. When it is written by that person, it is an autobiography. Biography may consist simply of the factual details of a person's life told in chronological order, but has generally become a matter of interpretation as well as historical accuracy. Unofficial biographies (not sanctioned by the subject) have frequently led to legal disputes over both interpretation and facts.
Among ancient biographers are Xenophon, Plutarch, Tacitus, Suetonius, and the authors of the Gospels of the New Testament. Medieval biography was mostly devoted to religious edification and produced chronicles of saints and martyrs; among secular biographies are Charlemagne by Frankish monk Einhard (c. 770–840), Alfred by Welsh monk Asser (died c. 910), and Petrarch by Boccaccio.
In England true biography begins with the early Tudor period and such works as Sir Thomas More 1626, written by his son-in-law William Roper (1498–1578). By the 18th century it became a literary form in its own right through Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets 1779–81 and James Boswell’s biography of Johnson 1791. Nineteenth-century biographers include Robert Southey, Elizabeth Gaskell, G H Lewes, J Morley, and Thomas Carlyle. The general tendency was to provide irrelevant detail and suppress the more personal facts. Lytton Strachey’s Eminent Victorians opened a new era of frankness in the history of biography.
Twentieth-century biographers include Richard Ellmann (1918–1987) (James Joyce and Oscar Wilde), Michael Holroyd (1935–) (Lytton Strachey and George Bernard Shaw), and Elizabeth Longford (Queen Victoria and Wellington).
The earliest biographical dictionary in the accepted sense was that of Pierre Bayle 1696, followed during the 19th century by the development of national biographies in Europe, and the foundation of the English Dictionary of National Biography 1882 and the Dictionary of American Biography 1928.
In the US, notable biographers include William Manchester (John F Kennedy and Douglas MacArthur), Leon Edel (Henry James), and Joseph Lash (Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Helen Keller).
ETYM French mémoire, m., memorandum, from mémoire, f., memory, Latin memoria. Related to Memory.
1. An account of the author's personal experiences.
2. An essay on a scientific or scholarly topic.