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  • autobiography

noun as in written account of one's own life

Strongest matches

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  • reminiscences

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  • personal history
  • self-portrayal

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Example sentences.

In so doing, she gave us an autobiography that has held up for more than a century.

His handwritten autobiography reawakens in Lee a longing to know her motherland.

His elocution, perfected on stage and evident in television and film, make X’s autobiography an easy yet informative listen.

The book is not so much an autobiography of Hastings — or even Netflix’s origin story.

By contrast, Shing-Tung Yau says in his autobiography that the Calabi-Yau manifold was given its name by other people eight years after he proved its existence, which Eugenio Calabi had conjectured some 20 years before that.

Glow: The Autobiography of Rick JamesRick James David Ritz (Atria Books) Where to begin?

Hulanicki was the subject of a 2009 documentary, Beyond Biba, based on her 2007 autobiography From A to Biba.

And it was also during the phase of the higher autobiography.

“Nighttime was the worst,” Bennett wrote in his autobiography.

Then I picked up a book that shredded my facile preconceptions—Hard Stuff: The Autobiography of Mayor Coleman Young.

No; her parents had but small place in that dramatic autobiography that Daphne was now constructing for herself.

His collected works, with autobiography, were published in 1865 under the editorship of Charles Hawkins.

But there is one point about the book that deserves some considering, its credibility as autobiography.

I thought you were anxious for leisure to complete your autobiography.

The smallest fragment of a genuine autobiography seems to me valuable for the student of past epochs.

Related Words

Words related to autobiography are not direct synonyms, but are associated with the word autobiography . Browse related words to learn more about word associations.

noun as in account of person's life

  • confessions
  • experiences
  • life history
  • personal account
  • personal anecdote
  • personal narrative
  • personal record

noun as in chronicle of events

  • recapitulation

noun as in history, biography

  • curriculum vitae

noun as in biography

Viewing 5 / 8 related words

On this page you'll find 22 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to autobiography, such as: biography, confession, diary, journal, letter, and life story.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.




What is another word for autobiography ?

Synonyms for autobiography ˌɔ tə baɪˈɒg rə fi, -bi-, ˌɔ toʊ- au·to·bi·og·ra·phy, this thesaurus page includes all potential synonyms, words with the same meaning and similar terms for the word autobiography ., wiktionary rate these synonyms: 3.0 / 26 votes.

  • autobiography noun

Synonyms: memoir

Antonyms: heterobiography

A self-written biography; the story of one's own life.

English Synonyms and Antonyms Rate these synonyms: 2.3 / 26 votes


History is a systematic record of past events. Annals and chronicles relate events with little regard to their relative importance, and with complete subserviency to their succession in time. Annals are yearly records; chronicles follow the order of time. Both necessarily lack emphasis, selection, and perspective. Archives are public records , which may be annals , or chronicles , or deeds of property, etc. Memoirs generally record the lives of individuals or facts pertaining to individual lives. A biography is distinctively a written account of one person's life and actions; an autobiography is a biography written by the person whose life it records. Annals , archives , chronicles , biographies , and memoirs and other records furnish the materials of history . History recounts events with careful attention to their importance, their mutual relations, their causes and consequences, selecting and grouping events on the ground of interest or importance. History is usually applied to such an account of events affecting communities and nations, tho sometimes we speak of the history of a single eminent life. Compare RECORD.

See synonyms for FICTION.

Synonyms: account , annals , archives , biography , chronicle , history , memoir , memorial , muniment , narration , narrative , recital , record , register , story

Princeton's WordNet

a biography of yourself

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Ppdb, the paraphrase database rate these paraphrases: 1.0 / 1 vote.

List of paraphrases for "autobiography":

How to pronounce autobiography?

How to say autobiography in sign language, words popularity by usage frequency, how to use autobiography in a sentence.

Bill Cassara :

She brought a book that was already inscribed to me, it was her autobiography, ‘No Bed of Roses.’ She said, ‘I want you to read this book. It’s me.’.

Philip Roth :

I write fiction and I'm told it's autobiography, I write autobiography and I'm told it's fiction, so since I'm so dim and they're so smart, let them decide what it is or it isn't.

George Orwell :

An autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.

It was her autobiography, ‘No Bed of Roses.’ She said, ‘I want you to read this book. It’s me.’.

Hilaire Belloc :

Just as there is nothing between the admirable omelet and the intolerable, so with autobiography.

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Definition of autobiography noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


  • In his autobiography, he recalls the poverty he grew up in.
  • in an/​the autobiography

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  • exercise book
  • multi-volume

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What Is an Autobiography?

What to Consider Before You Start to Write

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Your life story, or autobiography , should contain the basic framework that any essay should have, with four basic elements. Begin with an introduction that includes a thesis statement , followed by a body containing at least several paragraphs , if not several chapters. To complete the autobiography, you'll need a strong conclusion , all the while crafting an interesting narrative with a theme.

Did You Know?

The word autobiography  literally means SELF (auto), LIFE (bio), WRITING (graph). Or, in other words, an autobiography is the story of someone's life written or otherwise told by that person.

When writing your autobiography, find out what makes your family or your experience unique and build a narrative around that. Doing some research and taking detailed notes can help you discover the essence of what your narrative should be and craft a story that others will want to read.

Research Your Background

Just like the biography of a famous person, your autobiography should include things like the time and place of your birth, an overview of your personality, your likes and dislikes, and the special events that shaped your life. Your first step is to gather background detail. Some things to consider:

  • What is interesting about the region where you were born?
  • How does your family history relate to the history of that region?
  • Did your family come to that region for a reason?

It might be tempting to start your story with "I was born in Dayton, Ohio...," but that is not really where your story begins. It's better to start with an experience. You may wish to start with something like why you were born where you were and how your family's experience led to your birth. If your narrative centers more around a pivotal moment in your life, give the reader a glimpse into that moment. Think about how your favorite movie or novel begins, and look for inspiration from other stories when thinking about how to start your own.

Think About Your Childhood

You may not have had the most interesting childhood in the world, but everyone has had a few memorable experiences. Highlight the best parts when you can. If you live in a big city, for instance, you should realize that many people who grew up in the country have never ridden a subway, walked to school, ridden in a taxi, or walked to a store a few blocks away.

On the other hand, if you grew up in the country you should consider that many people who grew up in the suburbs or inner city have never eaten food straight from a garden, camped in their backyards, fed chickens on a working farm, watched their parents canning food, or been to a county fair or a small-town festival.

Something about your childhood will always seem unique to others. You just have to step outside your life for a moment and address the readers as if they knew nothing about your region and culture. Pick moments that will best illustrate the goal of your narrative, and symbolism within your life.

Consider Your Culture

Your culture is your overall way of life , including the customs that come from your family's values and beliefs. Culture includes the holidays you observe, the customs you practice, the foods you eat, the clothes you wear, the games you play, the special phrases you use, the language you speak, and the rituals you practice.

As you write your autobiography, think about the ways that your family celebrated or observed certain days, events, and months, and tell your audience about special moments. Consider these questions:

  • What was the most special gift you ever received? What was the event or occasion surrounding that gift?
  • Is there a certain food that you identify with a certain day of the year?
  • Is there an outfit that you wear only during a special event?

Think honestly about your experiences, too. Don't just focus on the best parts of your memories; think about the details within those times. While Christmas morning may be a magical memory, you might also consider the scene around you. Include details like your mother making breakfast, your father spilling his coffee, someone upset over relatives coming into town, and other small details like that. Understanding the full experience of positives and negatives helps you paint a better picture for the reader and lead to a stronger and more interesting narrative. Learn to tie together all the interesting elements of your life story and craft them into an engaging essay.

Establish the Theme

Once you have taken a look at your own life from an outsider’s point of view, you will be able to select the most interesting elements from your notes to establish a theme. What was the most interesting thing you came up with in your research? Was it the history of your family and your region? Here is an example of how you can turn that into a theme:

"Today, the plains and low hills of southeastern Ohio make the perfect setting for large cracker box-shaped farmhouses surrounded by miles of corn rows. Many of the farming families in this region descended from the Irish settlers who came rolling in on covered wagons in the 1830s to find work building canals and railways. My ancestors were among those settlers."

A little bit of research can make your own personal story come to life as a part of history, and historical details can help a reader better understand your unique situation. In the body of your narrative, you can explain how your family’s favorite meals, holiday celebrations, and work habits relate to Ohio history.

One Day as a Theme

You also can take an ordinary day in your life and turn it into a theme. Think about the routines you followed as a child and as an adult. Even a mundane activity like household chores can be a source of inspiration.

For example, if you grew up on a farm, you know the difference between the smell of hay and wheat, and certainly that of pig manure and cow manure—because you had to shovel one or all of these at some point. City people probably don’t even know there is a difference. Describing the subtle differences of each and comparing the scents to other scents can help the reader imagine the situation more clearly.

If you grew up in the city, you how the personality of the city changes from day to night because you probably had to walk to most places. You know the electricity-charged atmosphere of the daylight hours when the streets bustle with people and the mystery of the night when the shops are closed and the streets are quiet.

Think about the smells and sounds you experienced as you went through an ordinary day and explain how that day relates to your life experience in your county or your city:

"Most people don’t think of spiders when they bite into a tomato, but I do. Growing up in southern Ohio, I spent many summer afternoons picking baskets of tomatoes that would be canned or frozen and preserved for cold winter’s dinners. I loved the results of my labors, but I’ll never forget the sight of the enormous, black and white, scary-looking spiders that lived in the plants and created zigzag designs on their webs. In fact, those spiders, with their artistic web creations, inspired my interest in bugs and shaped my career in science."

One Event as a Theme

Perhaps one event or one day of your life made such a big impact that it could be used as a theme. The end or beginning of the life of another can affect our thoughts and actions for a long time:

"I was 12 years old when my mother passed away. By the time I was 15, I had become an expert in dodging bill collectors, recycling hand-me-down jeans, and stretching a single meal’s worth of ground beef into two family dinners. Although I was a child when I lost my mother, I was never able to mourn or to let myself become too absorbed in thoughts of personal loss. The fortitude I developed at a young age was the driving force that would see me through many other challenges."

Writing the Essay

Whether you determine that your life story is best summed up by a single event, a single characteristic, or a single day, you can use that one element as a theme . You will define this theme in your  introductory paragraph .

Create an outline with several events or activities that relate back to your central theme and turn those into subtopics (body paragraphs) of your story. Finally, tie up all your experiences in a summary that restates and explains the overriding theme of your life. 

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Definition of biography

Did you know.

So You've Been Asked to Submit a Biography

In a library, the word biography refers both to a kind of book and to a section where books of that kind are found. Each biography tells the story of a real person's life. A biography may be about someone who lived long ago, recently, or even someone who is still living, though in the last case it must necessarily be incomplete. The term autobiography refers to a biography written by the person it's about. Autobiographies are of course also necessarily incomplete.

Sometimes biographies are significantly shorter than a book—something anyone who's been asked to submit a biography for, say, a conference or a community newsletter will be glad to know. Often the word in these contexts is shortened to bio , a term that can be both a synonym of biography and a term for what is actually a biographical sketch: a brief description of a person's life. These kinds of biographies—bios—vary, but many times they are only a few sentences long. Looking at bios that have been used in the same context can be a useful guide in determining what to put in your own.

Examples of biography in a Sentence

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'biography.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Late Greek biographia , from Greek bi- + -graphia -graphy

1665, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Dictionary Entries Near biography


Cite this Entry

“Biography.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/biography. Accessed 29 Apr. 2024.

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What is an Autobiography? Definition, Elements, and Writing Tips

POSTED ON Oct 1, 2023

Audrey Hirschberger

Written by Audrey Hirschberger

What is an autobiography, and how do you define autobiography, exactly? If you’re hoping to write an autobiography, it’s an important thing to know. After all, you wouldn’t want to mislabel your book.

What sets an autobiography apart from a memoir or a biography? And what type of writing is most similar to an autobiography? Should you even write one? How? Today we will be discussing all things autobiographical, so you can learn what an autobiography is, what sets it apart, and how to write one of your own – should you so choose. 

But before we get into writing tips, we must first define autobiography. So what is an autobiography, precisely? 

Need A Nonfiction Book Outline?

This Guide to Autobiographies Contains Information On:

What is an autobiography: autobiography meaning defined.

What is an autobiography? It’s a firsthand recounting of an author’s own life. So, if you were to write an autobiography, you would be writing a true retelling of your own life events. 

Autobiography cannot be bound to only one type of work. What an autobiography is has more to do with the contents than the format. For example, autobiographical works can include letters, diaries, journals, or books – and may not have even been meant for publication. 

An autobiography is what many celebrities, government officials, and important social figures sit down to write at the end of their lives or distinguished careers. 

Of course, the work doesn’t have to cover your whole life. You can absolutely write an autobiography in your 20s or 30s if you’ve lived through events worth sharing!

If an autobiography doesn’t cover the entire lifespan of the author, it can start to get confused with another genre of writing. So what’s an autobiography most similar to? And how can you tell it apart from other genres of writing? Let’s dive into the details. 

What type of writing is most similar to an autobiography?

A memoir is undoubtedly what type of writing is most similar to an autobiography. So what is the difference between an autobiography vs memoir ?

Simply put, a memoir is a book that an author writes about their own life with the intention of communicating a lesson or message to the reader. It doesn’t need to be written in chronological order, and only contains pieces of the author’s life story. 

An autobiography, on the other hand, is the author’s life story from birth to present, and it’s much less concerned with theme than it is with communicating a “highlight reel” of the author’s biggest life events. 

In addition to memoirs, there is also some confusion between autobiography vs biography . A biography is a true story about someone’s life, but it is not about the author’s life. 

Is an autobiography always nonfiction?

When many people define autobiography, they say it is a true or “nonfiction” telling of an author’s life – but that’s not always the case.

There is actually such a thing as autobiographical fiction .

Autobiographical fiction refers to a story that is based on fact and inspired by the author’s actual experiences…but has made-up characters or events. Any element in the story can be embellished upon or fabricated. 

Even the information in a standard “nonfiction” autobiography should be taken with a grain of salt. After all, anything written from the author’s perspective may contain certain biases, distortions, or unconscious omissions within the text. 

So if being nonfiction isn’t a defining characteristic of an autobiography, what is an autobiography defined by? 

The key elements of an autobiography

What’s an autobiography like from cover to cover? It should contain these key elements:

  • A personal narrative : It is a firsthand account of the author's life experiences.
  • A chronological structure : An autobiography typically follows a chronological order, tracing the author's life from birth to present.
  • Reflection and insight : The book should contain the author's reflections, insights, and emotions about key life events.
  • Key life events : The book should highlight significant events, milestones, and challenges in the author's life.
  • Setting and context : There should be descriptions of the time period, cultural background, and environment to help the reader understand the author’s life.
  • Authenticity : The author should be honest and sincere in presenting their life story.
  • A personal perspective : An autobiography is written from the author's unique point of view.
  • A strong conclusion : The ending of the book should reflect on the author's current state or outlook.

Famous Autobiography Examples

Now that you know what an autobiography is, let’s look at some famous autobiography examples .

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank (1947)

The Diary Of Anne Frank, A Top Example For The Question: What Is An Autobiography?

Perhaps no autobiography is more famous than The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. Her diary chronicles her profound thoughts, dreams, and fears as she hides with her family in the walls during the Holocaust. 

Anne's words resonate with the enduring spirit of hope amid unimaginable darkness.

The Autobiography of Ben Franklin by Benjamin Franklin (1909)

One Of The Top Autobiographies, The Autobiography Of Ben Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin's autobiography follows Franklin’s life from humble origins to one of America's greatest forefathers. While originally intended as a collection of anecdotes for his son, this autobiography has become one of the most famous works of American literature. 

Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela (1994)

One Of The Best Examples Of What An Autobiography Is, Long Walk To Freedom By Nelson Mandela

Long Walk to Freedom narrates Nelson Mandela's epic odyssey from South African prisoner to revered statesman. This masterpiece of an autobiography is a portrait of resilience against the backdrop of apartheid – and his words are a bastion for courage and human rights. 

Now you know what an autobiography is, and some examples of successful autobiographies, so it’s time to discuss what goes into actually writing one. 

Who Should Write an Autobiography?

Celebrity autobiographies are popular for a reason – the people who wrote them were already popular. 

The main purpose of an autobiography is to portray the life experiences and achievements of the author. If you haven’t made any massive achievements that people are already aware of, an autobiography might not be for you. Instead, you should learn how to write a memoir . 

After all, what’s an autobiography worth if no one reads it?

If you have made an important contribution to society, or have amassed a massive following of fans, then writing an autobiography could be a fabulous idea.

An autobiography is what allows you to claim your rightful place in history. It provides a legacy for your life, helps you to better understand your life’s journey, and can even be deeply therapeutic to write. 

But then comes the next problem: how to write an autobiography.

Tips on Writing Your Own Autobiography 

While memoirs are the books that teach life lessons, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give your autobiography meaning. The best autobiographies paint a vivid tapestry of personal growth and introspection. 

You don’t just want to tell the reader about your life – you want them to feel like they are living it with you.

And it’s not just about painting a picture with your prose. A lot of thought should go into everything from autobiography titles to page count. To get started, here are five tips for writing an autobiography:

  • Know your audience : Understand who will read your autobiography and speak to them while writing.
  • Be candid and authentic : A life seen through rose-colored glasses isn’t relatable. You should include your failures as well as your triumphs, and humanize yourself so your story resonates with your reader.
  • Do your research : Of course you know what happened in your life, but how many details do you actually remember? You may need to sift through photos, archives, and diaries – and interview people close to you. Consider adding the photos to your book. 
  • Identify key themes : Identify key events and life lessons that have shaped you. Reflect on how these themes have evolved over time.
  • Edit and edit again : Write freely first, then edit rigorously. Seek feedback from trusted individuals and consider professional editing to ensure clarity and coherence in your narrative. NO ONE writes perfectly the first time. 

So there you have it, you are well on your way to understanding (and writing) an autobiography. 

If you'd still like more guidance for writing your autobiography, you can check out our free autobiography template . We can’t wait for you to share your life story with the world. 

what is an synonym for autobiography

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  1. 14 Synonyms & Antonyms for AUTOBIOGRAPHY

    Find 14 different ways to say AUTOBIOGRAPHY, along with antonyms, related words, and example sentences at Thesaurus.com.

  2. AUTOBIOGRAPHY Synonyms: 28 Similar Words

    Synonyms for AUTOBIOGRAPHY: biography, memoir(s), life, diary, bio, record, history, chronicle, hagiography, annals


    AUTOBIOGRAPHY - Synonyms, related words and examples | Cambridge English Thesaurus

  4. What is another word for autobiography

    Synonyms for autobiography include biography, life, memoir, diary, record, bio, history, journal, adventures and experience. Find more similar words at wordhippo.com!

  5. Autobiography synonyms

    Another way to say Autobiography? Synonyms for Autobiography (other words and phrases for Autobiography).

  6. Autobiography Synonyms: 23 Synonyms and Antonyms for Autobiography

    Synonyms for AUTOBIOGRAPHY: biography, memoirs, life, journal, diary, letters, memoir, personal history, self-portrayal, confession, experiences, anamnesis, account ...

  7. Autobiography Definition & Meaning

    autobiography: [noun] the biography of a person narrated by himself or herself.

  8. AUTOBIOGRAPHY in Thesaurus: 100+ Synonyms & Antonyms for AUTOBIOGRAPHY

    Most related words/phrases with sentence examples define Autobiography meaning and usage. Thesaurus for Autobiography Related terms for autobiography - synonyms, antonyms and sentences with autobiography

  9. Synonyms of AUTOBIOGRAPHY

    Synonyms for AUTOBIOGRAPHY: life story, record, history, résumé, memoirs, life story, story, biography, autobiography, memoirs, …

  10. Autobiography Synonyms & Antonyms

    Autobiography is an unrivaled vehicle for telling the truth about other people. Katherine Paterson: Thus, in a real sense, I am constantly writing autobiography, but I have to turn it into fiction in order to give it credibility. Evelyn Waugh: Only when one has lost all curiosity about the future has one reached the age to write an autobiography.

  11. BIOGRAPHY Synonyms: 15 Similar Words

    Synonyms for BIOGRAPHY: memoir, autobiography, bio, history, life, hagiography, psychobiography, obituary, chronicle, profile

  12. autobiography noun

    Definition of autobiography noun in Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary. Meaning, pronunciation, picture, example sentences, grammar, usage notes, synonyms and more. ... Look up any word in the dictionary offline, anytime, anywhere with the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary app.

  13. AUTOBIOGRAPHY Definition & Meaning

    Autobiography definition: a history of a person's life written or told by that person.. See examples of AUTOBIOGRAPHY used in a sentence.

  14. AUTOBIOGRAPHY definition

    AUTOBIOGRAPHY meaning: 1. a book about a person's life, written by that person: 2. the area of literature relating to…. Learn more.

  15. Autobiography

    An autobiography, sometimes informally called an autobio, is a self-written biography of one's own life. Definition 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".

  16. AUTOBIOGRAPHY Synonyms

    Synonyms for AUTOBIOGRAPHY in English: life story, record, history, résumé, memoirs, life story, story, biography, autobiography, memoirs, …

  17. Autobiography

    autobiography, the biography of oneself narrated by oneself. Autobiographical works can take many forms, from the intimate writings made during life that were not necessarily intended for publication (including letters, diaries, journals, memoirs, and reminiscences) to a formal book-length autobiography. Formal autobiographies offer a special ...

  18. Definition and Examples of Autobiography

    "Autobiography is an unrivaled vehicle for telling the truth about other people." (attributed to Thomas Carlyle, Philip Guedalla, and others) Autobiography and Memoir - "An autobiography is the story of a life: the name implies that the writer will somehow attempt to capture all the essential elements of that life. A writer's autobiography, for ...


    AUTOBIOGRAPHY definition: 1. a book about a person's life, written by that person: 2. the area of literature relating to…. Learn more.

  20. What Is an Autobiography? (And How to Write Yours)

    The word autobiography literally means SELF (auto), LIFE (bio), WRITING (graph). Or, in other words, an autobiography is the story of someone's life written or otherwise told by that person. When writing your autobiography, find out what makes your family or your experience unique and build a narrative around that.

  21. Biography Definition & Meaning

    biography: [noun] a usually written history of a person's life.

  22. Autobiography Definition, Examples, and Writing Guide

    Autobiography Definition, Examples, and Writing Guide. As a firsthand account of the author's own life, an autobiography offers readers an unmatched level of intimacy. Learn how to write your first autobiography with examples from MasterClass instructors.

  23. What is An Autobiography?: Definition & Writing Tips

    What is an autobiography? It's a firsthand recounting of an author's own life. So, if you were to write an autobiography, you would be writing a true retelling of your own life events. Autobiography cannot be bound to only one type of work. What an autobiography is has more to do with the contents than the format.