Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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(820 words)

Examples of autobiography go back to antiquity and are found in the Middle Ages and the early modern period as well, but the term autobiography for an “account [Greek graphía] of the life [Greek bios] of an individual written by himself [Greek autós]” [5. 38] did not come into use until the late 18th century. The significant increase in the production of autobiographies in this period was due on the one hand to an interest in anthropology triggered by the rise of the natural sciences, on the other to the increasing literacy of bourgeois society, which encouraged the differentiation o…

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Viehöver, Vera, “Autobiography”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 22 September 2023 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_SIM_017256>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20160321

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