Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.
Author: W. H. Auden (1907-1973)
Profession: Anglo-American Poet
Anyone who attempts to relate his life loses himself in the immediate. One can only speak of another.
Author: Augusto Roa Bastos (1917)
Profession: Paraguayan Novelist
Reminiscences, even extensive ones, do not always amount to an autobiography. For autobiography has to do with time, with sequence and what makes up the continuous flow of life. Here, I am talking of a space, of moments and discontinuities. For even if months and years appear here, it is in the form they have in the moment of recollection. This strange form -- it may be called fleeting or eternal -- is in neither case the stuff that life is made of.
Author: Walter Benjamin (1982-1940)
Profession: German Critic, Philosopher
Autobiography begins with a sense of being alone. It is an orphan form.
Author: John Berger (1926)
Profession: British Actor, Critic
A man's memory is bound to be a distortion of his past in accordance with his present interests, and the most faithful autobiography is likely to mirror less what a man was than what he has become.
Author: Fawn M. Brodie (1915-1981)
Profession: American Biographer
Biographical data, even those recorded in the public registers, are the most private things one has, and to declare them openly is rather like facing a psychoanalyst.
Author: Italo Calvino (1923-1985)
Profession: Cuban Writer, Essayist, Journalist
When you write down your life, every page should contain something no one has ever heard about.
Author: Elias Canetti (1905)
Profession: Austrian Novelist, Philosopher
Such reproductions may not interest the reader; but after all, this is my autobiography, not his; he is under no obligation to read further in it; he was under none to begin. A modest or inhibited autobiography is written without entertainment to the writer and read with distrust by the reader.
Author: Neville Cardus
There are people who can write their memoirs with a reasonable amount of honesty, and there are people who simply cannot take themselves seriously enough. I think I might be the first to admit that the sort of reticence which prevents a man from exploiting his own personality is really an inverted sort of egotism.
Author: Raymond Chandler (1888-1959)
Profession: American Author
An autobiography is an obituary in serial form with the last installment missing.
Author: Quentin Crisp (1908)
Profession: British Author
We can only write well about our sins because it is too difficult to recall a virtuous act or even whether it was the result of good or evil motives.
Author: Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977)
Profession: American Author, Critic
Democratic societies are unfit for the publication of such thunderous revelations as I am in the habit of making.
Author: Salvador Dali (1904-1989)
Profession: Spanish Painter
My Turn is the distilled bathwater of Mrs. Reagan's life. It is for the most part sweetish, with a tart edge of rebuke, but disappointingly free of dirt or particulate matter of any kind.
Author: Barbara Ehrenreich (1941)
Profession: American Author, Columnist
It is long ere we discover how rich we are. Our history, we are sure, is quite tame: we have nothing to write, nothing to infer. But our wiser years still run back to the despised recollections of childhood, and always we are fishing up some wonderful article out of that pond; until, by and by, we begin to suspect that the biography of the one foolish person we know is, in reality, nothing less than the miniature paraphrase of the hundred volumes of the Universal History.
Author: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)
Profession: American Poet, Essayist
That which resembles most living one's life over again, seems to be to recall all the circumstances of it; and, to render this remembrance more durable, to record them in writing.
Author: Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Profession: American Scientist, Publisher, Diplomat