Judas biography
n. An autobiography that denigrates or betrays a former friend or spouse of the writer.

Example Citations:
There's a lot of that going around, of course, the mercenary airing of private affairs, the shameless peddling of what Updike calls "the Judas biography."
—Steve Duin, "Private memo to J.D., for his eyes only," The Sunday Oregonian, May 16, 1999

John Updike didn’t coin the term “Judas biography&rdsquo; (When revenge means a stab in the hardback, January 23); he adapted it from a remark of Oscar Wilde’s: “Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is always Judas who writes the biography.”
—Ron Brown, “Letter: ‘Judas biography’,” The Guardian (London), January 27, 1999

Earliest Citation:
Recent years in America have given rise to what we might call the Judas biography, in which a former spouse or friend of a living writer confides to print an intimate portrait less flattering than might be expected.
—John Updike, “One Cheer for Literary Biography,” The New York Review of Books, February 4, 1999

Related Words:

Category: