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The Uses of First Person Writings / Les usages des écrits du for privé

Africa, America, Asia, Europe / Afrique, Amérique, Asie, Europe


Edited By François-Joseph Ruggiu

This book considers first-person writing and the related questions of the formation of the self, the rise of the individual and the private/public debate, and places these considerations within a multicultural perspective. It compares the characteristics of European or Occidental personal writings (such as diaries, memoirs and autobiographies) with the written forms of personal, intimate and autobiographical self which have existed and continue to exist within various Asian, African or Near Eastern cultures. The book constitutes a call for a global history of personal writing.
Ce livre s’intéresse, dans une perspective multiculturelle, à l’écriture de soi, et aux questions connexes de la formation même du soi, de l’émergence de l’individu ou encore du débat sur l’apparition des sphères privées et publiques. Il compare les caractéristiques de l’écrit personnel tel qu’il a eu cours en Europe ou dans les pays occidentaux (comme les journaux intimes, les mémoires, les autobiographies, entre autres) avec les formes écrites du soi personnel, intime ou autobiographique telles qu’elles ont pu exister, et existent, dans différentes cultures asiatiques, africaines ou proches-orientales. Ce livre lance également un appel pour une histoire globale des écrits personnels.


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Situating Self: Family Histories in 17th and 18th Century British North America - Karin Wulf


203 Situating Self: Family Histories in 17th and 18th Century British North America Karin WULF College of William and Mary Daniel Axtell’s early 18th century account book records business expenses and income from both a general store in Dighton, Massachusetts, and a plantation in South Carolina. In a single center page of this long, leather-bound volume, Axtell noted details of his family history. As carefully as he wrote out his accounts with friends, neighbors, customers, Axtell recorded his children’s births. His second child and first son, Daniel, was “born ye 26 day of October 1704: in the after noon”. Like many such manuscripts, Axtell’s account book, with its family history, was passed along to the next generations. They added to the family genealogy in spare but descriptive text. On the flyleaf the death of young Daniel, the baby who had been born in 1704, was inscribed by his own son, another Daniel, decades later: “My Honoured Father Died September the 21 day 1761 in the 57 year of his age.” And then this man’s death was accounted in 1772, “in the 32 year of his Age”. Four generations of Axtells, then, at least three of them Daniels, made their family’s history within the pages of a humble account ledger. The Axtell account, like so many across Anglo-America, records a family’s interest and investment in constituting a collective identity through a claim to past and future. Its archival presence, though, is a bit of a problem. Most historians of early America...

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