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diary[Lat.,=day], a daily record of events and observations. As distinguished from memoir (an account of events placed in perspective by the author long after they have occurred), the diary derives its impact from its immediacy, requiring each generation of readers to supply its own perspective. The earliest diaries extant are the Roman commentarii—household account books, senators' speech notebooks, and Caesar's account of the Gallic Wars. Diaries are of particular interest to historians because they depict everyday life in a particular place and time, often illuminating important historical events. Examples of such diaries are the Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris, written by an anonymous French clerk from 1401 to 1431; accounts of daily life in the American colonies by William BradfordBradford, William,
1590–1657, governor of Plymouth Colony, b. Austerfield, Yorkshire, England. As a young man he joined the separatist congregation at Scrooby and in 1609 emigrated with others to Holland, where, at Leiden, he acquired a wide acquaintance with theological
..... Click the link for more information. , John WinthropWinthrop, John,
1588–1649, governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony, b. Edwardstone, near Groton, Suffolk, England. Of a landowning family, he studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, came into a family fortune, and became a government administrator with strong Puritan
..... Click the link for more information. , William ByrdByrd, William,
1674–1744, American colonial writer, planter, and government official; son of William Byrd (1652–1704). After being educated in England, he became active in the politics of colonial America.
..... Click the link for more information. , and Samuel SewallSewall, Samuel
, 1652–1730, American colonial jurist, b. England. He was taken as a child to Newbury, Mass., and was graduated from Harvard in 1671. He became a minister but gave up the cloth to assume management of a printing press in Boston and entered upon a public
..... Click the link for more information. ; Anne FrankFrank, Anne,
1929–45, German diarist, b. Frankfurt as Anneliese Marie Frank. In order to escape Nazi persecution, her family emigrated (1933) to Amsterdam, where her father Otto became a business owner.
..... Click the link for more information. 's diary (1947, tr. 1953), an account of the early days of World War II by a young German-Jewish girl who died in a concentration camp; and Harold NicolsonNicolson, Sir Harold,
1886–1968, English biographer, historian, and diplomat, b. Tehran, Iran. Educated at Oxford, he entered the foreign office in 1909, and, until his resignation 20 years later, he represented the British government in various parts of the world.
..... Click the link for more information. 's diaries (1964–68), which treat the world situation from 1929 to 1962. A particularly unusual diary is that of the painter Eugène DelacroixDelacroix, Eugène
(Ferdinand-Victor-Eugène Delacroix) , 1798–1863, French painter. Delacroix is considered the foremost painter of the romantic movement in France; his influence as a colorist is inestimably great.
..... Click the link for more information. (covering 1822–24 and 1847–63), which contains many extraordinary drawings. Among the many diaries of literary and psychological interest, the greatest is probably that of Samuel PepysPepys, Samuel
, 1633–1703, English public official, and celebrated diarist, b. London, grad. Magdalene College, Cambridge, 1653. In 1656 he entered the service of a relative, Sir Edward Montagu (later earl of Sandwich), whose secretary he became in 1660.
..... Click the link for more information. . While presenting a detailed portrait of life in 17th-century England, the diary also renders many charming and humorous incidents, the product of Pepys's observant eye and delightful style. It records, for example, the New Year festivities of 1666: "Then to dancing and supper and mighty merry till Mr. Belt came in, whose pain of the tooth-ake made him no company, and spoilt ours." Other important literary diarists are John Evelyn, Jonathan Swift, Dorothy Wordsworth, Jules and Edmund Goncourt, Charles Baudelaire, André Gide, Franz Kafka, Virginia Woolf, and Anaïs Nin, whose 126-volume diary represents her efforts to "unmask the deeper self," so that it might be studied by psychiatrists.
(log, journal), daily notes by an individual or group, written concurrently with the life events being described. An external but more or less essential feature of a diary is dating. Practical diaries (which first came into wide use in 17th-century England) can be viewed as a kind of historical, historical-biographical, or historical-cultural document: for example, the ship’s log of the navigator J. Cook, the lycée diary of Decembrist V. K. Kiukhel’beker (Kiichelbecker), and the diaries and journals of the censor A. V. Nikitenko, the publicist A. S. Suvorin, and many writers, including W. Scott, Stendhal, the Goncourt brothers, T. G. Shevchenko, and L. N. Tolstoy.
A diary is also used as a form of fictional narrative. In sentimentalism, an 18th-century Russian and European literary movement that aroused interest in the inner world of the individual, the diary was cultivated as a form of “self-observation.” L. Sterne’s A Sentimental Journey and N. M. Karamzin’s Letters of a Russian Traveler were written as travel diaries. In the 19th century writers gave a diary form of narrative to a fictional hero for the sake of an intensified inquiry into “the history of the human soul,” as, for instance, “Pechorin’s Journal” inM. Iu. Lermontov’s/4 Hero of Our Times. In the process, opportunities arose for stylization and a complex narrative game, involving the increasing separation of the author from the character (Diary of a Madman by N. V. Gogol). Realists of the 19th century resorted to genre varieties close to fictional diaries—“sketches” (Tolstoy’s History of Yesterday), “letters” (F. M. Dostoevsky’s Poor People), and “confessions” (Ippolit’s notebook in Dostoevsky’s novel The Idiot). Examples of the use of the diary form in Soviet literature are The Diary of Kostia Riabtsev by N. Ognev and Village Diary by E. Dorosh.
A middle ground between diaries as a document and diaries as a literary genre is occupied by writers’ diaries intended in advance for publication (such as Journal by J. Renard, Fallen Leaves by V. V. Rozanov, and Not a Day Without a Line by Iu. K. Olesha); they are characterized by a carefully planned combination of autobiography and a breadth of observations and reflections. Dostoevsky’s D/ary of a Writer (1870’s), addressed to the contemporary reader, is a model of the use of the diary form in the sphere of socially oriented writing. Sometimes diaries of private individuals take on artistic interest because of their sincerity and truthfulness (The Diary of Anne Frank, The Diary of Nina Kosterina).
I. B. VOSKRESENSKAIA