Biography vs. Memoir

In a traditional sense, there is some difference between biography (even autobiography) and memoir. In it’s purest form, a biography relates the “life story” of a person, generally of some note. On the other hand, a memoir relates an individual’s experience of a particular time or event. That person may be a well-known individual, but often is not.

In publication, personal accounts do not always fall neatly into one genre or another. It’s proven more practical, in my own experience, to house these two together (in the 920′s and 921′s) in the high school library. Purists will disagree with the practice, but I’ve found it renews interest in what has oft-times been viewed as “stodgy” old men, to have them housed “hand-in-hand” with the Kurt Cobains of the world.

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