Kevin J. Berland

in The Oxford Handbook of Early American Literature

Published in print March 2008 | ISBN: 9780195187274
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature


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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
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This article throws light on the idea of individualism and the expression of individuality. Titled ‘Diaries’, this article focuses on the importance of records in the form of diaries. The etymology of the term “diary” goes back to the Latin for “daily”. Generally, diaries record events in a regular sequence, most often on a regular daily basis, with the act of writing not far removed in time from when documented occurrences took place. Accounts written long afterward are usually designated as memoirs or autobiographies. Diaries are supposed to be immediate, comprehending both personal eyewitness observation and a register of the diarist's responses and thoughts about the occurrences observed. This article delves into the details of almanacs such as Nathan Bowen's series, The New England Diary, or, Almanack (Boston, 1722–1737), and Nathaniel Ames's An Astronomical Diary, or, An Almanack (1726–1764). By 1750 more than fifty distinct almanacs came out every year.

Keywords: individualism; diaries; records; etymology; memoirs; almanacs

Article.  11430 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (Fiction, Novelists, and Prose Writers)

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