RR14-Autobiographies

Values of Autobiography

Many people have written an autobiography in one form or another. Some authors write about their lives and then set out to publish their book, while other people may just keep a private journal. No matter what the form the autobiography takes, it still holds much value. Libraries have shelves full of autobiographies of well-known people. These books provide much useful information, not just about the author’s life, but also about the places and time periods in which they live and the other people they interact with.

Journals, private letters, and other communications also serve as an autobiography of sorts. These items, which may not be published or publicly distributed, still hold value. Old journal entries provide a way to look back on one’s life years ago and see the changes that have come with time. Letters provide memories as well, for both the writer and the receiver. I have often flipped back through an old journal, or taken out and re-read special letters. When I read over such writings, I see again the story of my life; from the silly little girl of years ago to the person I am now. Autobiographies, of even the private, informal sort, possess much value in the information and memories they impart.

 

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Thoughtenchanted says:

    “These books provide much useful information, not just about the author’s life, but also about the places and time periods in which they live and the other people they interact with….”

    Hm….Are autobiographies the BEST (or even most useful) sources of information about an individual’s life and times? I would argue: decidedly not. In your private journal, are you always entirely truthful? About yourself? The things that happen to you?
    If you were to publish an account of your life thus far, would it really be accurate? How much would your love of the past, or wishful thinking, or desire to be thought well of color what you wrote? I could name several very prominent figures whose autobiographies are full of mis-remembered or mis-represented information–sometimes purposefully so, to push an agenda or present an image, or through inescapable bias, or a mere slip of memory.
    To conclude: While autobiography certainly provides the most unique, colorful, and personal look at a person’s life and times, it is probably the last place I would look to as a source of accurate information.

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