Why Biography is Important to Art and Literature
Biography is important to art and literature because biography helps a person or event become tangible. The biography gives readers, listeners, and viewers insight into the life of someone they may not have been able to meet in real life. It can be difficult for some people to get an inside look at their favorite author's biography without reading their biography.
1. Brief History of Biography and How it Evolved into the Form we Know Today
Biography has been around since the time of ancient Greece where biography was used to tell the stories of heroes. The term biography originates from Ancient Greek words meaning "a written account." Biography is a type of history that tells about somebody's life in chronological order. In Ancient Rome, biography developed into an important genre called vitae or lives. Vitae came out as collections of individual biographies and became popular during this time period because they were entertaining and showed different points of view on events happening at the same time (or over several years).
The biography genre was not common in literature until the 18th century when it began to be popularized by writers such as Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. Biography became a major part of history because they were so interesting for readers and often gave them an inside look into areas they wouldn't know about without reading the biography. For example, Charles Darwin's biography showcases his journey with evolution theory; Benjamin Franklin's biography shows how he helped establish America through inventions, diplomacy, politics, civic activism, etc.; John F Kennedy's biography tells us about him becoming president at age 43 during turbulent times while facing many challenges, including foreign affairs issues like the Cuban Missile Crisis, among others. These are just some examples of people who have influenced society and how biography has helped to present them as more than just a name on the page.
Why Should Writers and Artists Care about Biography?
Artists and writers should care about biography because it can be a way for them to show off who they are. For example, there is the biography of Picasso, which showcases all of his work in chronological order; or you could write a biography on your favorite author's life and talk about their writing process, childhood memories, etc.; or if you're an artist, then maybe you want to showcase what inspires you through biography.
The biography also prepares artists and writers for interviews by giving them ideas on what questions may come up as well as answers that have been pre-written but never said before. Biographic essays allow us to see our own lives from different angles--ones we might not notice with just one perspective alone (for example, biography can show us the different challenges that someone faced during a time period).
How to Write a Successful Biography.
- Think about what you want the biography to be about (i.e. your favorite author's biography, for example) and try not to put yourself in it; or if there is something that needs closure, then do so at the end of the biography
- start by getting contact information from the person who requested your bio like their full name, title, the location they're based out of (i.e. city/state), etc.; make sure all facts are accurate because this can lead us into thinking that we know everything when really it might just be wrong info!
- Introduce them with an anecdote. Think something interesting but short like "Johnny has been learning guitar since he was young" or "She has two dogs, a cat, and three fish."
- mention things they've been in like movies, books, TV shows, etc.
- Talk about their work ethic talk about how hard he/she works to make sure that all deadlines are met!
- Show examples of his/her biography by talking about some personal stories from their life (i.e. the day they got married) or other things they're proud of achieving; don't forget to be realistic include both bad days as well as good days so we can see more into this person's biography rather than just one side.
Benefits of Biographies for Artists and Writers.
1. A biography helps the artist or writer understand human nature.
Biography is a method of understanding human nature because it's the story of someone else--we have to either empathize or analyze someone outside ourselves in order to understand them better. For example, our biography makes us realize that we are not alone, and there are people who face challenges just like ours; biographies can show how different cultures grow and change as they shift from one time period to another.
2. Biography teaches us how to understand our own lives better.
Biography allows us to see our own lives from different perspectives, and because we're seeing it all at once (the good days as well as the bad days), then this will help us understand more about ourselves. For example, if someone's biography was full of struggles, but their art reflected joy or vice versa, in that case, his biography would teach you how to find a balance between life's challenges and your work/creativity.
3. How biographies help us to be more empathetic people.
Biography teaches us empathy because it's the story of someone else, and we have to either empathize or analyze someone outside ourselves. For example, biography can show how different cultures grow as they shift from one time period to another.
biography is important to art and literature because biography teaches us empathy, helps the artist or writer understand human nature as well as how their own life fits into this complicated story. The biography also prepares artists and writers for interviews by giving them ideas on what questions may come up as well as answers that have been pre-written but never said before.
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