What Exactly is a Memoir?
Memoirs are structured differently from formal autobiographies which tend to encompass the writer's entire life span, focusing 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.
Gore Vidal, in his own memoir Palimpsest, 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." It is more about what can be gleaned from a section of one's life than about the outcome of the life as a whole.
Contemporary practices of writing memoirs for recreational, family or therapeutic purposes are sometimes referred to as legacy writing or personal history. Such products may be assisted by professional or amateur genealogists, or by ghostwriters.
Here is another take of what a memoir means.......
What is a Memoir?
Memoir comes from the Latin word "memoria" meaning memory. A memoir is an evolution of the autobiography. An autobiography is a story written by yourself about your life. Your life story so far. A memoir, in the style which the publishing market are flooded with at the moment, tends to deal with a more specific period or theme in your life.
Despite their seemingly new modern popularity the memoir has been around for as long as man has felt the need to write about himself.Although true memoirs will sometimes seem fictional due to their emotionally charged story like quality. Despite what common reading trends lead us to believe a memoir does not need to be a blockbuster written for the whole world to read. A memoir is written for your own reasons and for whatever result you want.
I hope that this helps you with understanding what a memoir actually should be. I had to find out for myself because I was a bit confused about the difference between an autobiography and a memoir. Now, I better understand.
With that being the case, if you were to write your own memoir, what part of your life would you want to share?
Until next time, keep curling up with a good book....