Recording and Reordering: Essays on the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Diary and Journal

Recording and Reordering: Essays on the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Diary and Journal

Recording and Reordering: Essays on the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Diary and Journal

Recording and Reordering: Essays on the Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Diary and Journal

Synopsis

The essays in this collection consider the diaries and journals of theseventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Diaries and journals took manyforms -depending on the occupation, gender, social status, andreligious commitment of the writer. They ranged in their forms from briefnotes related to family business, and national events in preprintedalmanacs or the pages of a family Bible, to examinations of spiritualand material States in books dedicated to that purpose. Both Domesticand foreign travel afforded women and men reasons for keeping a diary, and these varied from highly scientific accounts to more personalconsiderations of the pleasures and discomforts of travel generically, the diary is situated uneasily, yet fascinatingly between literature andhistor

Excerpt

Dan Doll and Jessica Munns

That diaries and journals have not received the literary analysis granted canonical and even many noncanonical forms (as, for example, the eighteent-century familiar letter, which has been the subject of literary analysis throughout the eighteenth-twentieth centuries) is certain. What Philippe Lejeune says can serve as a typical lament of those who wish to read the diary or journal as other than merely a writer’s notebook or a historian’s hunting ground: “The diary is a social outcast, of no fixed theoretical address. It rarely receives the charity of careful study. It is never to be seen on school syllabi…. It never comes up as the subject for the didactic or academic exercise of the explication de texte.” Even though there has been more scholarly attention of late to the diary, it is still mostly “appreciations”: as Stuart Sherman observes of the relatively frequent recent anthologies of diary selections, “Such surveys depend more on a capacious, intelligent display of and guidance through the materials than a rigorously developed thesis about them. Initial exposure of the texts rather than close study is still largely the point.” But what is less certain is the reason for this neglect: indeed, the causes are likely to be many, including particularly the notion that the practices of the production of diaries and journals make them raw material rather than art, and the related claim that they are not specifically literary, as well as the frequently noted claim that diaries and journals are marginalized because they are perceived as a “woman’s form.” Rachael Langford and Russell West argue that the diary’s “generic intractability” has caused its critical neglect: “The diary is a misfit form of writing, inhabiting the frontiers between many neighbouring or opposed domains, often belonging simultaneously to several genres or species and thus being condemned to exclusion from both at once.” In addition to these theoretical and formal obstacles to serious literary analysis of diaries and journals, perhaps market forces play a role: the practice of publishing diaries and journals, excluding travel journals, comes much later than the regular publication of correspondence in the . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.