* Site-Outage Notice: Our engineering elves will be tweaking the Shmoop site from Monday, December 22 10:00 PM PST to Tuesday, December 23 5:00 AM PST. The site will be unavailable during this time.
Dismiss
© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Literature Glossary

Don’t be an oxymoron. Know your literary terms.

Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Autobiography

Definition:

When you read an autobiography, you're reading the story of someone's life written in their own words: from the day they were born up until, well, whenever the autobiography is written. Unlike a memoir, which focuses on specific times or topics in a person's life, an autobiography is interested in the development of the writer over the course of his or her life (from birth to death). And unlike a biography, an autobiography comes straight from the author's mouth… or pen.

Benjamin Franklin's The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a classic example of the genre—heck, it's right there in the title.

Tags: General, Genre