It is a curious thing to write your autobiography. Why confine the inner workings of your psyche and the events of your life to the unforgiving medium of language and put it out there for public consumption and critique?

Best seller lists prove that we have an insatiable appetite for consuming the autobiographies of others – both ‘celebrites’ and ‘nobodies’ – but one look at social media shows that we also love creating our own miniature autobiographies on a daily basis.

When, where and why did this autobiographical impulse emerge and how has it developed into a national obsession?

A new documentary series, Autobiography: a biography, attempts to answer this very question by telling the 1,600 year life story of autobiographical writing in the West.

Listen to this teaser to learn how the sinner-turned-saint Augustine of Hippo kick-started the genre in late antiquity and Medieval playboy Peter Abelard then picked up the mantle in the 12th century.

Video: Autobiography: a biography (teaser)

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