What is a double autobiography?
A double autobiography or dual autobiography is an autobiography jointly about two people. These would naturally be people who live entwined lives (have an ongoing close relationship), such as married couples or close companions.
A standard autobiography is a book giving an account of a person's life up to a certain point, written by that person themselves or by a writer appointed by the person and actively directed by them. This is in contrast to a biography, which is an account of a person's life written by another person, often a historian. Biographies are usually more thorough accounts in that they make use of a variety of sources that encompass different angles one could look at the person's life from. If written by a historian, the person's connections and influence on those around them, as well as their place in the society as it was at the time, are considered and discussed in detail. An autobiography on the other hand is often a much more personal account, as it is written under the direct influence of the person themselves. Sometimes it may take the form of a 'confession' where the person admits to their mistakes perhaps with the aim of shedding the guilt, though this might be done in a satirical or light-hearted way. If the person has lived a secretive life, for whatever reason, the 'confession' may take the form of 'spilling the beans' and drawing back the curtain of mystery on their life. The autobiography might also be a tale of success through adversity, intended to give hope to readers who suffer adversity in their lives and to encourage them to 'dare to dream.'
A couple of examples of double or dual biographies are:
- A Dual Biography (1978) Simon & Schuster, written by Ariel and William Durant, married writers born in the 19th century
- Man and Woman, War and Peace, 1942-1951: A Dual Autobiography Verbatim from Their Letters and Diary (2004) Vantage Press, written by Robert W Doty