Biographies & Memoirs Textbooks
There is a kind of magic in reading words that were born in another person's brain, long since turned to dust, and reliving events that occurred before you existed. It is as if those memories have been reconstituted, like a desiccated spore rescued from millennial dormancy by a drop of water. What do such words beckon when they sound again in the convoluted pudding between our own ears?
For the ancient Greeks, a ‘biography’ would have been a literal ‘drawing of life’, a depiction or account of a living subject. The literal meaning conveys the modern sense of the word adroitly as biographies indeed paint, as it were, a picture of a person’s life in words. Memoirs, from the French for ‘memory’, similarly recount events from a person’s life, but with an emphasis on the remembrances themselves and not the life of the witness.
Biographies and memoirs liberate ephemeral memory from cranial internment and give it enduring form in the written word, when so committed. But, what value is there in these memories now words? Do the dreams and struggles, tragedies and triumphs of other people, *dead* people, even matter?
That is a question that can only be answered by the reader. Pick a biography or memoir from Bookbyte and live in another person’s shoes for a while. You never know, they might fit you.