What Is a Memoir

Glossary > Memoir

💬 Definition of Memoir:

A memoir is an autobiographical writing that focuses on a specific period or theme of a person's life. It explores the author's memories, experiences, and feelings from an intimate and subjective perspective.

Related questions about a memoir:

What topics can one find in a memoir?

Memoirs can cover various topics, such as family history, personal struggles, career achievements, or one particular event. Regardless of the topic, the writing can be emotional, as it focuses on real events from a person’s life.

What are the differences between a memoir and an autobiography?

1. Purpose of the narrative

The main difference between a memoir and an autobiography is the purpose of the narrative. A memoir focuses on a specific period, theme, or event of a person's life, while an autobiography provides a comprehensive account of an author's life from birth to the present day.

2. Chronology 

Autobiographies are organized chronologically and cover all major events and experiences, including childhood, education, career, relationships, and other significant moments from an author’s life. In contrast, memoirs are more subject-focused and explore a particular period or theme, such as a specific relationship or a life-changing event. Because chronology doesn't play a significant role in a memoir, this type of writing can be more experimental and creative.

3. Level of objectivity

Another difference between the two is the level of objectivity. Autobiographies tend to be more objective, providing a factual account of the author's life, while memoirs are often more subjective and reflective.

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