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History or record composed from personal observation and experience. Closely related to autobiography, a memoir differs chiefly in the degree of emphasis on external events. Unlike writers of autobiography, who are concerned primarily with themselves as subject matter, writers of memoir usually have played roles in, or have closely observed, historical events, and their main purpose is describing or interpreting those events.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on memoir, visit Britannica.com.