Autobiography

An autobiography (from the Greek, αὐτός-autos self + βίος-bios life + γράφειν-graphein to write) is a self-written account of the life of oneself. The word "autobiography" was first used deprecatingly by William Taylor in 1797 in the English periodical The Monthly Review, when he suggested the word as a hybrid, but condemned it as "pedantic". However, its next recorded use was in its present sense, by Robert Southey in 1809.[1] Despite only being named early in the nineteenth century, first-person autobiographical writing originates in antiquity. Roy Pascal differentiates autobiography from the periodic self-reflective mode of journal or diary writing by noting that "[autobiography] is a review of a life from a particular moment in time, while the diary, however reflective it may be, moves through a series of moments in time".[2] Autobiography thus takes stock of the autobiographer's life from the moment of composition. While biographers generally rely on a wide variety of documents and viewpoints, autobiography may be based entirely on the writer's memory. The memoir form is closely associated with autobiography but it tends, as Pascal claims, to focus less on the self and more on others during the autobiographer's review of his or her life.[2]

See also: List of autobiographies and Category:Autobiographies for examples.

Saint Augustine by Philippe de Champaigne
Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote Confessions, the first Western autobiography ever written, around 400. Portrait by Philippe de Champaigne, 17th century.

Biography

Life

Autobiographical works are by nature subjective. The inability—or unwillingness—of the author to accurately recall memories has in certain cases resulted in misleading or incorrect information. Some sociologists and psychologists have noted that autobiography offers the author the ability to recreate history.

Spiritual autobiography

Spiritual autobiography is an account of an author's struggle or journey towards God, followed by conversion a religious conversion, often interrupted by moments of regression. The author re-frames his or her life as a demonstration of divine intention through encounters with the Divine. The earliest example of a spiritual autobiography is Augustine's Confessions though the tradition has expanded to include other religious traditions in works such as Zahid Rohari's An Autobiography and Black Elk Speaks. The spiritual autobiography works as an endorsement of his or her religion.

Memoirs

A memoir is slightly different in character from an autobiography. While an autobiography typically focuses on the "life and times" of the writer, a memoir has a narrower, more intimate focus on his or her own memories, feelings and emotions. Memoirs have often been written by politicians or military leaders as a way to record and publish an account of their public exploits. One early example is that of Julius Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico, also known as Commentaries on the Gallic Wars. In the work, Caesar describes the battles that took place during the nine years that he spent fighting local armies in the Gallic Wars. His second memoir, Commentarii de Bello Civili (or Commentaries on the Civil War) is an account of the events that took place between 49 and 48 BC in the civil war against Gnaeus Pompeius and the Senate.

Leonor López de Córdoba (1362–1420) wrote what is supposed to be the first autobiography in Spanish. The English Civil War (1642–1651) provoked a number of examples of this genre, including works by Sir Edmund Ludlow and Sir John Reresby. French examples from the same period include the memoirs of Cardinal de Retz (1614–1679) and the Duc de Saint-Simon.

Fictional autobiography

The term "fictional autobiography" signifies novels about a fictional character written as though the character were writing their own autobiography, meaning that the character is the first-person narrator and that the novel addresses both internal and external experiences of the character. Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders is an early example. Charles Dickens' David Copperfield is another such classic, and J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye is a well-known modern example of fictional autobiography. Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre is yet another example of fictional autobiography, as noted on the front page of the original version. The term may also apply to works of fiction purporting to be autobiographies of real characters, e.g., Robert Nye's Memoirs of Lord Byron.

Autobiography through the ages

The classical period: Apologia, oration, confession

In antiquity such works were typically entitled apologia, purporting to be self-justification rather than self-documentation. John Henry Newman's Christian confessional work (first published in 1864) is entitled Apologia Pro Vita Sua in reference to this tradition.

The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus introduces his autobiography (Josephi Vita, c. 99) with self-praise, which is followed by a justification of his actions as a Jewish rebel commander of Galilee.[3]

The pagan rhetor Libanius (c. 314–394) framed his life memoir (Oration I begun in 374) as one of his orations, not of a public kind, but of a literary kind that could not be aloud in privacy.

Augustine (354–430) applied the title Confessions to his autobiographical work, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau used the same title in the 18th century, initiating the chain of confessional and sometimes racy and highly self-critical, autobiographies of the Romantic era and beyond. Augustine's was arguably the first Western autobiography ever written, and became an influential model for Christian writers throughout the Middle Ages. It tells of the hedonistic lifestyle Augustine lived for a time within his youth, associating with young men who boasted of their sexual exploits; his following and leaving of the anti-sex and anti-marriage Manichaeism in attempts to seek sexual morality; and his subsequent return to Christianity due to his embracement of Skepticism and the New Academy movement (developing the view that sex is good, and that virginity is better, comparing the former to silver and the latter to gold; Augustine's views subsequently strongly influenced Western theology[4]). Confessions will always rank among the great masterpieces of western literature.[5]

In the spirit of Augustine's Confessions is the 12th-century Historia Calamitatum of Peter Abelard, outstanding as an autobiographical document of its period.

Early autobiographies

Baburnama
A scene from the Baburnama

In the 15th century, Leonor López de Córdoba, a Spanish noblewoman, wrote her Memorias, which may be the first autobiography in Castillian.

Zāhir ud-Dīn Mohammad Bābur, who founded the Mughal dynasty of South Asia kept a journal Bāburnāma (Chagatai/Persian: بابر نامہ‎; literally: "Book of Babur" or "Letters of Babur") which was written between 1493 and 1529.

One of the first great autobiographies of the Renaissance is that of the sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571), written between 1556 and 1558, and entitled by him simply Vita (Italian: Life). He declares at the start: "No matter what sort he is, everyone who has to his credit what are or really seem great achievements, if he cares for truth and goodness, ought to write the story of his own life in his own hand; but no one should venture on such a splendid undertaking before he is over forty."[6] These criteria for autobiography generally persisted until recent times, and most serious autobiographies of the next three hundred years conformed to them.

Another autobiography of the period is De vita propria, by the Italian mathematician, physician and astrologer Gerolamo Cardano (1574).

It is often claimed that the earliest known autobiography in English is the early 15th-century Book of Margery Kempe, describing among other things Kempe's pilgrimage to the Holy Land and visit to Rome although it is, at best, only a partial autobiography and arguably more a memoir of religious experiences. The book remained in manuscript and was not published until 1936.

Possibly the first publicly available autobiography written in English was Captan John Smith's autobiography published in 1630 [7] which was regarded by many as not much more than a collection of tall tales told by someone of doubtful veracity. This changed with the publication of Philip Barbour's definitive biography in 1964 which, amongst other things, established independent factual bases for many of Smith's "tall tales", many of which could not have been known by Smith at the time of writing unless he was actually present at the events recounted. [8]

Other notable English autobiographies of the 17th century include those of Lord Herbert of Cherbury (1643, published 1764) and John Bunyan (Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, 1666).

Jarena Lee (1783 – 1864), was the first African American woman to have a published biography in the United States.[9]

18th and 19th centuries

Memoirs of Franklin
Cover of the first English edition of Benjamin Franklin's autobiography, 1793

Following the trend of Romanticism, which greatly emphasized the role and the nature of the individual, and in the footsteps of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Confessions, a more intimate form of autobiography, exploring the subject's emotions, came into fashion. Stendhal's autobiographical writings of the 1830s, The Life of Henry Brulard and Memoirs of an Egotist, are both avowedly influenced by Rousseau.[10] An English example is William Hazlitt's Liber Amoris (1823), a painful examination of the writer's love-life.

With the rise of education, cheap newspapers and cheap printing, modern concepts of fame and celebrity began to develop, and the beneficiaries of this were not slow to cash in on this by producing autobiographies. It became the expectation—rather than the exception—that those in the public eye should write about themselves—not only writers such as Charles Dickens (who also incorporated autobiographical elements in his novels) and Anthony Trollope, but also politicians (e.g. Henry Brooks Adams), philosophers (e.g. John Stuart Mill), churchmen such as Cardinal Newman, and entertainers such as P. T. Barnum. Increasingly, in accordance with romantic taste, these accounts also began to deal, amongst other topics, with aspects of childhood and upbringing—far removed from the principles of "Cellinian" autobiography.

20th and 21st centuries

From the 17th century onwards, "scandalous memoirs" by supposed libertines, serving a public taste for titillation, have been frequently published. Typically pseudonymous, they were (and are) largely works of fiction written by ghostwriters. So-called "autobiographies" of modern professional athletes and media celebrities—and to a lesser extent about politicians, generally written by a ghostwriter, are routinely published. Some celebrities, such as Naomi Campbell, admit to not having read their "autobiographies".. Some sensationalist autobiographies such as James Frey's A Million Little Pieces have been publicly exposed as having embellished or fictionalized significant details of the authors' lives.

Autobiography has become an increasingly popular and widely accessible form. A Fortunate Life by Albert Facey (1979) has become an Australian literary classic.[11] With the critical and commercial success in the United States of such memoirs as Angela’s Ashes and The Color of Water, more and more people have been encouraged to try their hand at this genre. Maggie Nelson's book The Argonauts is one of the recent autobiographies. Maggie Nelson calls it "autotheory"- a combination of autobiography and critical theory. [12]

A genre where the "claim for truth" overlaps with fictional elements though the work still purports to be autobiographical is autofiction.

Furthermore, in the latter years new impulses at the Autobiographical genre arrived from the italian poet and critic Menotti Lerro. In contrast to what Philippe Lejeune asserts Lerro claims that if the truth can only be grasped in a synchronic manner (also according to postmodernist philosophers point of view) and through fragments, why not entrust this narrative to the verse? Why not consider the role of “autobiography in verse” equally dignified as a form of self-narration? For the critic this, perhaps, is the necessary leap: through poetry it is possible to get the most dramatic and highest form of autobiographical narrative.[13]

See also

References

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, Autobiography
  2. ^ a b Pascal, Roy (1960). Design and Truth in Autobiography. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  3. ^ Steve Mason, Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary. Life of Josephus : translation and commentary, Volume 9
  4. ^ Fiorenza and Galvin (1991), p. 317
  5. ^ Chadwick, Henry (2008-08-14). Confessions. Oxford University Press. pp. 4 (ix). ISBN 9780199537822.
  6. ^ Benvenuto Cellini, tr. George Bull, The Autobiography, London 1966 p. 15.
  7. ^ The True Travels, Adventures and Observations of Captain John Smith into Europe, Aisa, Africa and America from Anno Domini 1593 to 1629
  8. ^ Barbour, Philip L (1964) The Three Worlds of Captain John Smith, Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.
  9. ^ Peterson, Carla L. (1998). Doers of the Word: African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North (1830-1880). Rutgers University Press. ISBN 9780813525143.
  10. ^ Wood, Michael (1971). Stendhal. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. p. 97. ISBN 978-0801491245.
  11. ^ about-australia.com.au, 2010
  12. ^ Pearl, Monica B. (2018). "Theory and the Everyday". Angelaki. 23: 199–203. doi:10.1080/0969725X.2018.1435401.
  13. ^ Menotti Lerro, Autobiographical Poetry in England and Spain (1950-1980): Narrating Oneself in Verse (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017), p. 33.

Bibliography

  • Ferrieux, Robert (2001). L'Autobiographie en Grande-Bretagne et en Irlande. Paris: Ellipses. p. 384. ISBN 9782729800215.
  • Lerro, Menotti (2017). Autobiographical Poetry in England and Spain, 1950-1980: Narrating Oneself in verse. Stratford-upon-Avon: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 238. ISBN 9781443832748.
  • Lerro, Menotti (2018). The Body in Autobiography and Autobiographical Novels: The Importance of Being Normal. Stratford-upon-Avon: Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 9781527505667.
Alex Haley

Alexander Murray Palmer Haley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) was an American writer and the author of the 1976 book Roots: The Saga of an American Family. ABC adapted the book as a television miniseries of the same name and aired it in 1977 to a record-breaking audience of 130 million viewers. In the United States, the book and miniseries raised the public awareness of African American history and inspired a broad interest in genealogy and family history.Haley's first book was The Autobiography of Malcolm X, published in 1965, a collaboration through numerous lengthy interviews with the subject, a major African-American leader.He was working on a second family history novel at his death. Haley had requested that David Stevens, a screenwriter, complete it; the book was published as Queen: The Story of an American Family. It was adapted as a film, Alex Haley's Queen, released in 1992.

Ashlee Simpson

Ashley Nicolle Næss (née Simpson; born October 3, 1984) is an American singer, songwriter and actress. The younger sister of singer and actress Jessica Simpson, she began her career as a back-up dancer for her sister and appeared in television commercials at the age of 15. She later pursued a career as an actress, and had a recurring role on the family drama 7th Heaven. Her breakout came following her appearance on the reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, broadcast on MTV between 2003 and 2005, which focused on Ashlee's older sister Jessica and Jessica's then-husband Nick Lachey. While working on her debut studio album, Simpson became the star of her own spin-off reality series, The Ashlee Simpson Show, which was broadcast on MTV between 2004 and 2005. Like her sister before her, Simpson became the center of considerable media attention, much of which focused on her relationship with musician Ryan Cabrera.

When Simpson's debut single, "Pieces of Me," was released in 2004, it became a top five hit in the United States, and topped the Billboard Mainstream Top 40 chart based on radio airplay. The success of the single and her reality show helped propel her debut album, Autobiography, also released in 2004, to the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart. The project went on to sell over five million copies worldwide, making it her most successful album to date. Simpson had a leading role in the film Undiscovered (2005), which became a critical and commercial flop. The failure of the film, along with multiple critically panned performances, led to much media scrutiny towards Simpson. Despite this, Simpson's second studio album, I Am Me (2005), debuted atop the Billboard 200, becoming her second album to do so. The album went on to receive a platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

In 2006, Simpson began a relationship with Fall Out Boy member Pete Wentz, which gained much media attention. Following her appearance as Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago, Simpson announced that she had begun working on her third studio album. The album differed from the pop-rock sound of her previous efforts, featuring a dance-pop and 1980s themed sound. Bittersweet World was released in 2008 to positive critical reception, but it saw a decline in sales for Simpson. The effort reached number 4 on the Billboard 200, and went on to sell 126,000 copies by 2009. Simpson announced her engagement to Wentz in April 2008, with the pair wedding the following month. Two weeks after the wedding, Simpson announced her pregnancy, thus ending promotion of Bittersweet World. Simpson and Wentz had a son in November 2008. The following year, Simpson joined the main cast of the Melrose Place revamp, which was met with harsh critical reception. She later portrayed Roxie Hart in Chicago on Broadway.

Simpson announced her separation from Wentz in 2011, citing irreconcilable differences. Despite having taken time to focus on being a mother, Simpson announced a fourth studio album that same year. She independently released the single "Bat for a Heart" (2012), though it failed to have success. Simpson eventually scrapped the album, and focused on her child. She began dating actor Evan Ross in 2013, with the couple marrying in August 2014. They have a daughter together, born in July 2015.

Autobiographical novel

An autobiographical novel is a form of novel using autofiction techniques, or the merging of autobiographical and fictive elements. The literary technique is distinguished from an autobiography or memoir by the stipulation of being fiction. Because an autobiographical novel is partially fiction, the author does not ask the reader to expect the text to fulfill the "autobiographical pact". 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's life. While the events of the author's life are recounted, there is no pretense of exact truth. Events may be exaggerated or altered for artistic or thematic purposes.

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 author's life as minor plot details. To be considered an autobiographical novel 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 novels about intense, private experiences such as war, family conflict or sex, are written as autobiographical novels.

Some works openly refer to themselves as 'nonfiction 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. 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.'

Autobiography of a Yogi

Autobiography of a Yogi is an autobiography of Paramahansa Yogananda (January 5, 1893–March 7, 1952) first published in 1946. Paramahansa Yogananda was born Mukunda Lal Ghosh in Gorakhpur, India, into a Bengali family.

Autobiography of a Yogi introduces the reader to the life of Paramahansa Yogananda and his encounters with spiritual figures of both the Eastern and the Western world. The book begins with his childhood family life, to finding his guru, to becoming a monk and establishing his teachings of Kriya Yoga meditation. The book continues in 1920 when Yogananda accepts an invitation to speak in a religious congress in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. He then travels across America lecturing and establishing his teachings in Los Angeles, California. In 1935 he returns to India for a yearlong visit. When he returns to America, he continues to establish his teachings, including writing this book.

The book is an introduction to the methods of attaining God-realization and to the spiritual thought of the East, which had only been available to a few in 1946. The author claims that the writing of the book was prophesied long ago by the nineteenth-century master Lahiri Mahasaya (Paramguru of Yogananda) also known as the Yogiraj and Kashi baba. Before becoming a yogi, Lahiri Mahasaya's actual name was Shyama Charan Lahiri.

It has been in print for seventy years and translated into fifty-two languages by Self-Realization Fellowship. It has been highly acclaimed as a spiritual classic including being designated by Philip Zaleski, while he was under the auspices of HarperCollins Publishers, as one of the "100 Most Important Spiritual Books of the 20th Century." It is included in the book 50 Spiritual Classics: Timeless Wisdom from 50 Great Books of Inner Discovery, Enlightenment and Purpose by Tom Butler-Bowdon. According to Project Gutenberg, the first edition is in public domain and at least five publishers are reprinting it and four post it free for online reading.

Benvenuto Cellini

Benvenuto Cellini (Italian pronunciation: [beɱveˈnuːto tʃelˈliːni]; 3 November 1500 – 13 February 1571) was an Italian goldsmith, sculptor, draftsman, soldier, musician, and artist who also wrote a famous autobiography and poetry.

He was one of the most important artists of Mannerism. He is remembered for his skill in making pieces such as the Cellini Salt Cellar and Perseus with the Head of Medusa.

Biography

A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, relationships, and death; it portrays a person's experience of these life events. Unlike a profile or curriculum vitae (résumé), a biography presents a subject's life story, highlighting various aspects of his or her life, including intimate details of experience, and may include an analysis of the subject's personality.

Biographical works are usually non-fiction, but fiction can also be used to portray a person's life. One in-depth form of biographical coverage is called legacy writing. Works in diverse media, from literature to film, form the genre known as biography.

An authorized biography is written with the permission, cooperation, and at times, participation of a subject or a subject's heirs. An autobiography is written by the person himself or herself, sometimes with the assistance of a collaborator or ghostwriter.

Confessions (Augustine)

Confessions (Latin: Confessiones) is the name of an autobiographical work, consisting of 13 books, by Saint Augustine of Hippo, written in Latin between AD 397 and 400. The work outlines Saint Augustine's sinful youth and his conversion to Christianity. Modern English translations of it are sometimes published under the title The Confessions of Saint Augustine in order to distinguish the book from other books with similar titles. Its original title was Confessions in Thirteen Books, and it was composed to be read out loud with each book being a complete unit.Confessions is generally considered one of Augustine's most important texts. It is widely seen as the first Western autobiography ever written, and was an influential model for Christian writers throughout the Middle Ages. Professor Henry Chadwick wrote that Confessions will "always rank among the great masterpieces of western literature".

Gucci Mane

Radric Delantic Davis (born February 12, 1980), known professionally as Gucci Mane, is an American rapper. He helped pioneer the hip hop subgenre of trap music alongside fellow Atlanta-based rappers T.I. and Young Jeezy. In 2005, Gucci Mane debuted with Trap House, followed by his second and third albums, Hard to Kill and Trap-A-Thon in 2006. His fourth album, Back to the Trap House, was released in 2007.

Following a string of critically and commercially successful mixtape releases in 2009, Gucci Mane released his sixth studio album, The State vs. Radric Davis, his first gold-certified album. Following time spent in prison between 2014 and 2016, he re-emerged with several new retail projects, including Everybody Looking (2016), which was released to critical praise. His 2016 collaboration with Rae Sremmurd, titled "Black Beatles", provided Gucci Mane with his first number-one single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart. His latest album, Evil Genius, was released on December 7, 2018.Gucci Mane has released 12 studio albums and over 70 mixtapes, many of which feature production from his longtime collaborator Zaytoven. In 2007, he founded his own label, 1017 Records. He has worked with artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Shawty Lo, Selena Gomez, Mariah Carey and Marilyn Manson. His prolific mixtape releases and long-standing presence as a trap music innovator in the Atlanta music scene has established him as a major influence on younger Atlanta artists like Young Thug, Migos, Rich Homie Quan, 21 Savage and Lil Yachty, and he has been called an "avatar of East Atlanta," and "the most influential underground rapper of the past decade"

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre (originally published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography) is a novel by English writer Charlotte Brontë, published under the pen name "Currer Bell", on 16 October 1847, by Smith, Elder & Co. of London. The first American edition was published the following year by Harper & Brothers of New York. Arguably a Bildungsroman, Jane Eyre follows the experiences of its eponymous heroine, including her growth to adulthood and her love for Mr. Rochester, the brooding master of Thornfield Hall. The novel revolutionised prose fiction in that the focus on Jane's moral and spiritual development is told through an intimate, first-person narrative, where actions and events are coloured by a psychological intensity. Charlotte Brontë has been called the "first historian of the private consciousness" and the literary ancestor of writers like Proust and Joyce. The book contains elements of social criticism, with a strong sense of Christian morality at its core and is considered by many to be ahead of its time because of Jane's individualistic character and how the novel approaches the topics of class, sexuality, religion and feminism.

Mahavatar Babaji

Mahāvatār Bābājī (literally; Great Avatar (Revered) Father or Elder or Wise) is the name given to an Indian tamil saint and yogi by Yogiraj Lahiri Mahasaya,

and several of his disciples, who reported meeting him between 1861, 1935 and 1980. Some of these meetings were described by Paramahansa Yogananda in his book Autobiography of a Yogi, including a first-hand report of Yogananda's own meeting with the yogi. Another first hand account was given by Sri Yukteswar Giri in his book The Holy Science. According to Sri M's autobiography (Apprenticed to a Himalayan Master), Babaji was Lord Shiva. In the second last chapter of his book, he mentions Babaji changing his form to that of Lord Shiva. All of these accounts, along with additional reported meetings, are described in various biographies. According to Yogananda's autobiography, Babaji has resided for at least hundreds of years in the remote Himalayan regions of India, seen in person by only a small number of disciples and others.Again, according to his autobiography, shortly before Yogananda left for America in 1920, Babaji came to his home in Calcutta, where Yogananda sat deeply praying for divine assurance regarding the mission he was about to undertake. Babaji said to him: "Follow the behest of your guru and go to America. Fear not; you shall be protected. You are the one I have chosen to spread the message of Kriya Yoga in the West."

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou ( (listen); born Marguerite Annie Johnson; April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) was an American poet, singer, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and is credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. She received dozens of awards and more than 50 honorary degrees. Angelou is best known for her series of seven autobiographies, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), tells of her life up to the age of 17 and brought her international recognition and acclaim.

She became a poet and writer after a series of occupations as a young adult, including fry cook, sex worker, nightclub dancer and performer, cast member of the opera Porgy and Bess, coordinator for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and journalist in Egypt and Ghana during the decolonization of Africa. She was an actress, writer, director, and producer of plays, movies, and public television programs. In 1982, she was named the first Reynolds Professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She was active in the Civil Rights Movement and worked with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. Beginning in the 1990s, she made around 80 appearances a year on the lecture circuit, something she continued into her eighties. In 1993, Angelou recited her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" (1993) at the first inauguration of Bill Clinton, making her the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy in 1961.

With the publication of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou publicly discussed aspects of her personal life. She was respected as a spokesperson for black people and women, and her works have been considered a defense of black culture. Her works are widely used in schools and universities worldwide, although attempts have been made to ban her books from some U.S. libraries. Angelou's most celebrated works have been labeled as autobiographical fiction, but many critics consider them to be autobiographies. She made a deliberate attempt to challenge the common structure of the autobiography by critiquing, changing and expanding the genre. Her books center on themes such as racism, identity, family and travel.

Memoir

A memoir (US: /ˈmemwɑːr/; from French: mémoire: memoria, meaning memory or reminiscence) is a collection of memories that an individual writes about moments or events, both public or private, that took place in the subject's life. The assertions made in the work are understood to be factual. While memoir has historically been defined as a subcategory of biography or autobiography since the late 20th century, the genre is differentiated in form, presenting a narrowed focus. A biography or autobiography tells the story "of a life", while a memoir often tells a story "from a life", such as touchstone events and turning points from the author's life. The author of a memoir may be referred to as a memoirist or a memorialist.

Peter Schaufuss

Peter Schaufuss (born Copenhagen, Denmark, 1949) is a Danish ballet dancer, director and choreographer.

Schaufuss trained at the Royal Danish Ballet School from age seven, and then joined the Royal Danish Ballet. Gelsey Kirkland mentioned a tiff she had when he was her partner in her autobiography Dancing On My Grave. They reconciled and were on very good terms in her sequel The Shape of Love.

He was artistic director of the English National Ballet. From 1994 to 1995, he was artistic director of the Royal Danish Ballet.In 1997, he founded the Peter Schaufuss Ballet, based in Holstebro, Denmark.

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography

The Pulitzer Prize for Biography is one of the seven American Pulitzer Prizes that are annually awarded for Letters, Drama, and Music. It has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished biography, autobiography or memoir by an American author or co-authors, published during the preceding calendar year. Thus it is one of the original Pulitzers, for the program was inaugurated in 1917 with seven prizes, four of which were awarded that year.

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Gavin Ferdinand (born 7 November 1978) is an English former professional footballer who played as a centre back, and current television pundit for BT Sport. He played 81 times for the England national team between 1997 and 2011, and was a member of three FIFA World Cup squads. He is regarded by many to be one of England's greatest ever players and he is one of the most decorated English footballers of all time.Ferdinand began his football career playing for various youth teams, finally settling at West Ham United where he progressed through the youth ranks and made his professional Premier League debut in 1996. He became a fan favourite, winning the Hammer of the Year award the following season. He earned his first senior international cap in a match against Cameroon in 1997, setting a record as the youngest defender to play for England at the time. His achievements and footballing potential attracted Leeds United and he transferred to the club for a record-breaking fee of £18 million. He spent two seasons at the club, becoming the team captain in 2001.

He joined Manchester United in July 2002 for around £30 million, breaking the transfer fee record once more. He won the Premier League, his first major club honour, in a successful first season at the club. In September 2003, he missed a drugs test and was banned from competition for eight months from January until September 2004, causing him to miss half a Premier League season, Manchester United's FA Cup triumph, and the Euro 2004 international competition. Upon his return, he established himself in the Manchester United first team and received plaudits for his performances, featuring in the PFA Team of the Year four times in five years. More club success followed with another Premier League win in the 2006–07 season and a Premier League and UEFA Champions League double the following year. His career at United, in which he won six Premier League titles and 14 trophies, ended when his contract expired in 2014, and he subsequently joined Queens Park Rangers where he played for just one season before being released from the club as a result of their relegation from the Premier League. He announced his retirement from professional football on 30 May 2015.

In September 2017, Ferdinand announced his intention to become a professional boxer, partly to help him cope with the death of his wife.His brother, Anton, also a centre back, plays for St Mirren. Former England international striker Les Ferdinand and former Dagenham & Redbridge midfielder Kane Ferdinand are his cousins.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X was published in 1965, the result of a collaboration between human rights activist Malcolm X and journalist Alex Haley. Haley coauthored the autobiography based on a series of in-depth interviews he conducted between 1963 and Malcolm X's 1965 assassination. The Autobiography is a spiritual conversion narrative that outlines Malcolm X's philosophy of black pride, black nationalism, and pan-Africanism. After the leader was killed, Haley wrote the book's epilogue. He described their collaborative process and the events at the end of Malcolm X's life.

While Malcolm X and scholars contemporary to the book's publication regarded Haley as the book's ghostwriter, modern scholars tend to regard him as an essential collaborator. They say he intentionally muted his authorial voice to create the effect of Malcolm X speaking directly to readers. Haley influenced some of Malcolm X's literary choices. For example, Malcolm X left the Nation of Islam during the period when he was working on the book with Haley. Rather than rewriting earlier chapters as a polemic against the Nation which Malcolm X had rejected, Haley persuaded him to favor a style of "suspense and drama". According to Manning Marable, "Haley was particularly worried about what he viewed as Malcolm X's anti-Semitism" and he rewrote material to eliminate it.When the Autobiography was published, The New York Times reviewer described it as a "brilliant, painful, important book". In 1967, historian John William Ward wrote that it would become a classic American autobiography. In 1998, Time named The Autobiography of Malcolm X as one of ten "required reading" nonfiction books. James Baldwin and Arnold Perl adapted the book as a film; their screenplay provided the source material for Spike Lee's 1992 film Malcolm X.

The Story of My Experiments with Truth

The Story of My Experiments with Truth is the autobiography of Mohandas K. Gandhi, covering his life from early childhood through to 1921. It was written in weekly instalments and published in his journal Navjivan from 1925 to 1929. Its English translation also appeared in installments in his other journal Young India. It was initiated at the insistence of Swami Anand and other close co-workers of Gandhi, who encouraged him to explain the background of his public campaigns. In 1999, the book was designated as one of the "100 Best Spiritual Books of the 20th Century" by a committee of global spiritual and religious authorities.

Zayn Malik

Zain Javadd "Zayn" Malik (, Urdu: زین جواد ملک‬‎; born 12 January 1993), known mononymously as Zayn, is an English singer and songwriter. Born and raised in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Malik auditioned as a solo contestant for the British music competition The X Factor in 2010. After being eliminated as a solo performer, Malik was brought back into the competition, along with four other contestants, to form the boy band that would become known as One Direction. Malik left the group in March 2015 and subsequently signed a solo recording contract with RCA Records.

Adopting a more alternative R&B music style with his debut studio album Mind of Mine (2016) and its lead single, "Pillowtalk", Malik became the first British male artist to debut at number one in both the UK and US with a debut single and debut album. Malik is the recipient of several accolades, including an American Music Award, Billboard Music Award and MTV Video Music Award. In December 2018, he released his second studio album, Icarus Falls.

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