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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

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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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Between Instrumentalisation and Self-Governing: (Female) Ego-Documents in the European Age of Total War - Christa Hämmerle

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263 Between Instrumentalisation and Self-Governing: (Female) Ego-Documents in the European Age of Total War1 Christa HÄMMERLE Universität Wien Tuesday, 9th [December 1941] Now I can’t write any more. I cried to heaven. (Lindenberg, 2010, 178) Although trying to write about oneself in times of war, may entail a (partial) loss of words, personal narratives have been a popular mode of expressing oneself during crises and conflicts. This is especially true for the age of total war in Europe, i.e. the First and the Second World War. These dramatic years, which define – as Eric Hobsbawm (1996, 21-222) emphatically put it – a whole “age of catastrophe” from 1914 to 1945, will be at the centre of what follows. They indeed represented a time of unprecedented unleashing and dissolution of violence, not only for those involved directly in total warfare, persecution and mass murder or genocide, but for the societies as a whole. The experience of a more or less total crisis was an overwhelming one, and also led – as a consequence – to a wide range of autobiographical texts, in which many people who up to then had not been accustomed to writing tried to document, communicate and cope with their altered life circumstances, in very different ways. By doing so, they nevertheless primarily followed cultural norms and hegemonic writing practices, or willingly adopted traditional functions of writing about oneself – as will be argued 1 The manuscript of this chapter has been revised by Francesca Khan and Helen Stringer, whom the...

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