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What are the 4 Types of Biography? A Comprehensive Guide

Biographies have long been a popular literary form, giving readers a glimpse into the lives of historical figures, celebrities, and other notable individuals. However, not all biographies are created equal. There are four different types of biography, each with its own distinct characteristics and purposes. In this article, we will explore the four types of biography in detail, including their defining features and how they differ from one another.


What are the 4 Types of Biography?

Historical Biography

Historical biography is the most common type of biography. It involves the comprehensive study of a historical figure's life, covering their personal and professional accomplishments, as well as their impact on society. Historical biographies are typically written by scholars, historians, or experts in a particular field. They often draw from primary sources such as diaries, letters, and other documents to provide a detailed account of the subject's life.


Literary Biography

Literary biography is a sub-genre of biography that focuses on writers and their works. This type of biography examines the author's literary style, influences, and the historical context in which they lived and worked. Literary biographies often include detailed analyses of the author's major works, as well as their lesser-known works and personal writings.


Popular Biography

Popular biography is a type of biography that is written for a general audience. These biographies are often more accessible and entertaining than historical or literary biographies, and they typically focus on celebrities, sports figures, or other popular personalities. Popular biographies are often written by journalists or other writers who are not necessarily experts in the subject matter. They may rely on secondary sources and interviews rather than primary sources.


An autobiography is a type of biography that is written by the subject themselves. Unlike the other types of biography, which are written by someone else, an autobiography is a first-person account of the subject's life. Autobiographies can be personal and revealing, providing insights into the subject's inner thoughts and motivations. However, they can also be biased and self-serving, and may not be as objective as other types of biography.


Q: What is the difference between a biography and an autobiography?

A: A biography is a written account of someone's life written by someone else, while an autobiography is a written account of someone's life written by the subject themselves.

Q: Are there other types of biography?

A: Yes, there are other types of biography, such as group biography (which focuses on a group of people) and fictional biography (which blends fact and fiction).

Q: What is the purpose of biography?

A: The purpose of a biography is to provide a detailed and accurate account of someone's life, accomplishments, and impact on society.


In conclusion, there are four main types of biography: historical, literary, popular, and autobiography. Each type of biography has its own unique characteristics and serves a different purpose. Historical biographies provide a comprehensive study of a historical figure's life, while literary biographies focus on writers and their works. Popular biographies are written for a general audience and typically focus on popular personalities, while autobiographies are written by the subjects themselves. Whether you are a scholar, a writer, or simply a reader, understanding the different types of biography can help you choose the best biography for your needs.

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