|Biography / Memoir
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The Mormon Literature Database includes records of biographies, autiobiographies, and biographical studies of a literary character, including memoirs by or about Mormons or that describe Mormon experience. Biography and memoir differ from diaries or journals in that they include a reflective, selective, and critical assessment of their subject matter. They are also more personal than history, and as such often overlap with the personal essay. In general, although the memoir and the personal essay may both include reflective accounts of events or periods in a person’s life, in this resource a memoir or biography is a longer work than a personal essay, and perhaps more chronologically than thematically coherent.
One may search within this genre (and/or associated genres) below, or to browse, consult this critically selected list of 60 Significant Mormon Biographies.
Diary / Journal,
Although Mormon biographies and autobiographies have been appreciated more for their historical or inspirational nature, such writing constitutes a long and important literary tradition among Latter-day Saints, beginning with Parley P. Pratt's well-known Autobiography, the first and perhaps best known example of the genre, written in a lively and entertaining style. Also significant in this genre were the brief biographies and memoirs published in George Q. Cannon's "Faith-Promoting" series and Preston Nibley's pioneer accounts. The Twentieth Century saw the publication of the first prophet biography to be widely recognized not only for its inspirational nature, but for its literary qualites, Edward L. Kimball and Andrew E. Kimball Jr.'s biography, Spencer W. Kimball.
By and large Mormon biography writing has been plentiful but not outstanding in literary quality. The reasons for this, as well as a larger discussion of this genre of Mormon writing, are discussed by Ronald W. Walker in his "The Challenge and Craft of Mormon Biography