Mrs. Robinson's Disgrace:
The Private Diary of a Victorian Lady
by Kate Summerscale
$26.00 List Price
Someone really should write a compelling history of the diary. Those books we often associate with childhood have been, after all, vehicles for some of the most illuminating accounts of history: Samuel Pepys had his famed journals of seventeenth-century life, John de Crèvecoeur his observations of the American settlements, and Lewis and Clark used them to chronicle their travails through the American West. And that's to say nothing of figures like Franz Kafka or Virginia Woolf whose private entries have enhanced our understanding of their public work. A diary can be, in the right hands, a document that enlightens its consumers as much as its creator.
Originating with Samuel Johnson's Pamela, the lady-diarist-as-storyteller motif became a valuable tool for novelists in the early nineteenth century, with diaries
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