by Danna Martínez
Some experiences will not seem so valuable before taking the time to write them down and detail them. The description of each characteristic, physical trait, quality, thoughts, and experiences of a person throughout his life is defined as a biography. It is a popularly known production that seeks to capture each story’s certainty and share it with people.
The word biography comes from a Greek term made up of, bios which means “life,” and graphein, which means “to write.” The origin of the biography is in classical antiquity. To begin with, biographical essays and chronicles, which had a moralizing or pedagogical approach, were commonly known. In the Middle Ages, a biography was a widely cultivated genre centered on Christian saints’ lives.
In the European Renaissance, due to the emerging ideologies about the in-depth study of man and his distancing from religious influences, the literary genre of biography began to exist formally and be popularly recognized.
Biography is the commonly abbreviated history of a person’s life from birth to death in the proper historical and social context. The biography seeks historical fidelity without distorting or omitting facts that may contradict the story’s integrity. On the other hand, the biography tries to draw conclusions, reflections, and knowledge from that life story. For this reason, these literary essays and commemorative texts called biographies are classified within the genres of non-fiction.
As a literary genre, a biography is the intermediate between two other genres, narrative and essay. Biographies generally have various length forms. They can be voluminous stories rooted in extensive studies and concise summaries containing only specific information.
A biography includes in-depth information about the place of birth, education, work, relationships, places where he lived, relevant experiences, and events that were shocking in some way. Most of the time, even the death of a person is included in a biography.
The life story of a person told by himself is defined as an autobiography. This text typically focuses on a particular moment in the author’s life since it is not possible to predict specific moments such as death.
This literary genre, currently popular in the world publishing market, narrates a person’s life in each story, generally relating the events in chronological order. However, multiple biographies do not respond to any linear temporal structure.
Consequently, this literary exercise has historical importance since it narrates the successes, failures, and singularities of various characters’ lives that have been relevant throughout history. Besides, many biographies have fulfilled educational and reflective functions. They allow readers the opportunity to think about the moments lived and possibly see the world from another perspective or perhaps create a new understanding.
Writing a bio is not an activity to be taken lightly; it requires dedication, feedback, and time; however, it is never the wrong time to start.
“History is the essence of countless biographies” -Thomas Carlyle.