Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Memoirs are structured differently from formal autobiographies, focusing rather on the development of his or her personality. The chronological scope of a memoir is determined by the work's context and is therefore more focused and flexible than the traditional arc of birth to old age as found in an autobiography. Memoirs tended to be written by politicians or people in court society, later joined by military leaders and businessmen, and often dealt exclusively with the writer's careers rather than their private life. Historically, memoirs have dealt with public matters, rather than personal.
Many older memoirs contain little or no information about the writer, and are almost entirely concerned with other people. Modern expectations have changed this, even for heads of government. Like most autobiographies, memoirs are generally written from the first person point of view. In his own memoir Palimpsest, the author Gore Vidal gave a personal definition: "a memoir is how one remembers one's own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked." Memoir is thus more about what can be gleaned from a section of one's life than about the outcome of the life as a whole.