Difference Between Memoir and Autobiography

Memoir vs Autobiography

Memoir and Autobiography are two words that are often confused when it comes to their usage and inner meanings. Strictly speaking, the two words have to be understood with some sort of difference between them.

The word ‘memoir’ is used in the sense of ‘reminiscence’ or ‘remembrance’. On the other hand, the word ‘autobiography’ is used in the sense of ‘description of one’s own life history’. This is the main difference between the two words ‘memoir’ and ‘autobiography’.

Observe the two sentences:

1. He wrote the memoirs of his European travel.

2. He narrated his memoirs to the audience.

In both the sentences, you can find that the word ‘memoirs’ is used in the sense of ‘reminiscences’ or ‘remembrances’. Hence the meaning of the first sentence would be ‘he wrote the remembrances of his European travel’. The meaning of the second sentence would be ‘he narrated his reminiscences to the audience’.

It is important to note that an autobiography is written by a person in the first person. This is because of the fact that the person describes his own story. This is exactly opposite to a biography, which is written in the third person. Memoirs are more concerned only with the remembrances of a tour or a trip. On the other hand, autobiography pays more importance to the events in one’s life in his own words.

As a matter of fact, an autobiography deals with the birth, the childhood, the youth, and the old age of the writer together with various incidents and events connected with his or her life. Autobiography never ends with the death of the writer and hence, it is understood that it is written only at the time of his living. These are the important differences between memoir and autobiography.