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Private Lives, Public Histories: The Diary in Twentieth-Century Britain

Moran, J (2015) Private Lives, Public Histories: The Diary in Twentieth-Century Britain. Journal of British Studies, 54 (1). ISSN 1545-6986

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This article examines the growth of interest in diary keeping in twentieth-century Britain. It explores how diary keeping by private citizens was encouraged in the first part of the century by mass-circulation newspapers, diary manufacturers, diary anthologists like Arthur Ponsonby and the social research organization, Mass Observation, in response to changing notions of the self, privacy and daily life. It discusses the ways in which, in the context of a growing interest in public archives, these private diaries have more recently been imagined as compelling forms of historical evidence, as well as some of the problems of organization and interpretation that these kinds of texts present. I argue that the inherently opaque and incomplete nature of private diaries means that they can add nuance to our understandings of the recent past and offer insight into the randomness and singularity of everyday experience as it is being lived.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Divisions: Humanities & Social Science
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2014 10:19
Last Modified: 04 Sep 2021 14:47
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/208
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