NON FICTION - A few definitions

biography the written life of another person; Richard Ellmann - James Joyce; eg George Painter - Marcel Proust. Enid Starkie - Gustave Flaubert.

autobiography a written account of somebody's own life; ie Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings . Anthony Trollope, Autobiography , the life of a working writer.

memoir the personal thoughts of an individual on another person, usually revealing a degree of intimacy and often in retrospect after an individual's death; Maya Guston, Night Studio , reminiscences of her father the painter Philip Guston.

diary - journal - Virginia Woolf. Dorothy Wordsworth, Journals and Eugene Delacroix. Joseph Farington's journals of his life in the Royal Academy in the 18th Century.

description The Faber Book of Reportage , edited by John Carey.

travel journal Dervla Murphy, journals written while travelling; Daniel Defoe, A Tour through England and Wales .

confession .Confessions of St.Augustine. Thomas de Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium Eater . See also fictional confessions

a short composition on a subject, usually non-fictional; James Thurber, The Day the Dam Broke . Garrison Keiller, Lake Woebegon . Primo Levi, The Periodic Table .

anecdote the narrative of a striking incident; ie The Autobiography of P.T.Barnum , the American circus owner and showman. Simon Nowell Smith, The Legend of the Master , anecdotes of the author Henry James.

text book the standard work on a given subject usually of an instructional nature.

monograph a separate publication on a specific subject; Kirk Varnedoe on the painter Gustave Caillebotte.

encyclopaedia a work containing all branches of knowledge; the first English encyclopaedia was the Cyclopaedia or Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (1728) of Ephraim Chambers.Commissioned to translate it into English, an obscure writer Denis Diderot and the mathematician Jean d'Alembert amassed not just facts but opinions and theories; the Encyclopedie Vol 1 was published 1751, and was completed 1771. For the diagram of the system of all human knowledge see P.N.Furbank, Open Univ.unit bookA 204 13/14 p.60.

dictionary a book dealing with the words of a language usually arranged alphabetically; ie The Oxford Dictionary , but see dictionaries of specific subjects ie Flaubert, A Dictionary of Received Opinion .The Oxford Dictionary of Proverbs .Dictionary of National Biography . Opie and Tatam, Dictionary of Superstitions .

thesaurus a treasury or storehouse of knowledge arranged in a specific way ie. Roget's Thesaurus , prefaced by its taxonomy of words. The impulse to the System was much derided in English culture in favour of what is learnt from experience.

concordance an alphabetical arrangement of the principal words contained in a book. Usually to all major bodies of writing, ie. The Bible, Shakespeare, Marlowe, Dante and Milton for example.

lexicon a word book or dictionary

taxonomy a classification system of any given material; methods of classification, ie Buffon's classification of Nature (Animals, Vegetables, Minerals). Diderot's System of Human Knowledge . Roget's Thesaurus .

index alphabetically arranged names and subjects mentioned in the main part of a book.

glossary an alphabetically arranged set explanation of terms used usually attached to the end of a book.

chronology the science of assigning events to their true time ; Neville Williams, Chronology of the Modern World ..

chronicle a detailed register of events in their order of time. The Nuremburg Chronicle 1493 has 1809 woodcuts; images of people and buildings. A complex layout of text and image

obituary a notice usually in a newspaper of someone's death with an account of their achievements.

narrative of events year by year, see also chronicle and chronology; Keeling's Annals , published every year, the day's events chronologically printed. Geoffrey Grigson, The English Year , days registered over one year from people's diaries. E.F.Carrit, A Calendar of British Taste from 1600 to 1800 , being a museum of Specimens and Landmarks chronologically arranged, RKP London 1948.

catalogue a list; F.Spufford, The Chatto Book of Cabbages and Kings, Lists in Literature. Available in facsimile, the auction catalogues of the libraries of famous people.

catalogue raisoneé a complete list; the delights of reading a list of things knowing it is complete.
titlepage to Raphael Holingshead's Chronicle of England, Scotlande and Irelande , John Hunne, 1577.This book was a primary source for Shakespeare's Plays.