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Related: biography - self

Memoirs, autobiographies and autobiographical fiction often have the author as unreliable narrator and character.


An autobiography, from the Greek auton, 'self', bios, 'life' and graphein, 'write', is a biography written by the subject or composed conjointly with a collaborative writer (styled "as told to" or "with"). The term dates from the late eighteenth century, but the form is much older.--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobiography [Jan 2007]


Of, relating to, or being a work that falls between fiction and autobiography: a semiautobiographical novel. --AHD

Autobiographical novel

An autobiographical novel is a novel based on the life of the author. The literary technique is distinguished from an autobiography or memoir by the stipulation of being fiction. Names and locations are often changed and events are recreated to make them more dramatic but the story still bears a close resemblance to that of the author.

While the events of the author's life are recounted, there is no pretense of neutrality or even exact truth. Events may be reported the way the author wishes they had been with enemies more clearly loathsome and triumphs more complete than perhaps they actually were.

Because writers somewhat draw on their own experiences in most of their work, the term autobiographical novel is difficult to define. Novels that portray settings and/or situations with which the author is familiar are not necessarily autobiographical. Neither are novels that include aspects drawn from the authorís life as minor plot details. To be considered an autobiographical by most standards, there must be a protagonist modeled after the author and a central plotline that mirrors events in his or her life.

Novels that do not fully meet these requirements or are further distanced from true events are sometimes called semi-autobiographical novels.

Many first novels, as well as novels about intense, private experiences such as war, family conflict or sex, are written as autobiographical novels.

Some works openly refer to themselves as 'non fiction novels.' The definition of such works remains vague. The term was first widely used in reference to the non-autobiographical 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote but has since become associated with a range of works drawing openly from autobiography. A central focus of the non-fiction novel is the development of plot through the means of fictional narrative styles. The emphasis is on the creation of a work that is essentially true, often in the context of an investigation into values or some other aspect of reality. The books Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig and The Tao of Muhammad Ali by Davis Miller open with statements admitting to some fictionalising of events but state they are true 'in essence.' --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autobiographical_novel [Aug 2006]

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