Biography and autobiography are among the most heavily used elements of a public library's bookstock, but their dual functions as information sources and as general reading material create problems of classification and utilisation. Libraries need to acquire the classic works in the genre. Some features are discussed which may help to define the works of genuine and lasting quality: the objectivity of the biographer; the occupation and celebrity of the subject; the extent to which the biography relates the public and private lives of the “biographee”; and the originality of treatment.
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