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Literature Glossary

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

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A biography is an extended piece of non-fiction that tells the whole story of a person's life. Unlike an autobiography, biography is not written by the subject of the book.

For a hugely famous biography, check out James Boswell's epic tome Life of Johnson, which is all about one of English literature's most towering figures, Dr. Samuel Johnson. It is widely considered a paragon of the genre, although Boswell may have made up a few things. Hey, it happens.

Interested in biography? Be sure to graze Shmoop's biographies of all your favorite authors.

Tags: Genre, General