Vrae rondom outobiografieë en memoires

Die filosofiese en praktiese uitdagings van histories-literêre werke


  • B. J. van der Walt North-West University, South Africa


This article investigates the problems attached to biographical literature, especially autobiographies, and memoirs. It develops through the following steps: The introductory section asks attention for the growing contemporary popularity of biographies, autobiographies and memoirs (written by people from all ages representing all kinds of professions) as well as the attention these genres today receive in various scholarly disciplines. Secondly, autobiographies are compared with similar writings, like biographies and memoirs. The next (third) question answered is why autobiographies are written – or not written – as well as the role religion, culture and other factors may play in such decisions. (It becomes evident that autobiographies have to wrestle with deep and difficult questions about human nature.) Fourthly, different types of autobiographies are analysed, while special attention is given to the intellectual autobiography. The next (fifth) section warns against some general pitfalls to be avoided when writing one’s lifehistory. (Since it deals with the mystery of the human being, the most difficult of them all seems to be the kind of truth an autobiography puts forward.) The following (sixth) section provides a few general literary requirements for a good autobiography, while the next (seventh) analyses it as a historical document. (Three types of history are distinguished, while attention is focussed on problems relating to meaning in a life history.) The eighth section selects from different metaphors that of a way as an appropriate image for the autobiographer to picture his/her life.



How to Cite

van der Walt, B. J. (2010). Vrae rondom outobiografieë en memoires: Die filosofiese en praktiese uitdagings van histories-literêre werke. Tydskrif Vir Christelike Wetenskap | Journal for Christian Scholarship, 46(3 - 4), 185-211. Retrieved from https://pubs.ufs.ac.za/index.php/tcw/article/view/228



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