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Egodocuments and History

  • Rudolf Dekker
Chapter
Part of the Early Modern History: Society and Culture book series

Abstract

For centuries family life has been recorded in notes, letters, diaries and memoirs. All these different types of autobiographical writing can be termed ‘egodocuments’. They encompass texts in which an author writes about his or her own acts, thoughts and feelings. Such egodocuments may seem to be the most suitable source for examining the history of the child, but until recently, they have been regarded with scepticism. Edward Shorter, for one, dismissed such texts because they were subjective and not representative.1 In recent years the tide has turned. Subjectivity is no longer taboo and historians want to know how the past was experienced. And the problem of representativeness is no longer high on the list of historians’ worries too.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Edward Shorter, The Making of the Modern Family (New York: Basic Books, 1977) p. 9.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Irene Hardach-Pinke, Rinderalltag. Aspekte von Rondinuität und Wandel der Rindheit in autobiographische Zeugnissen 1700 bis 1900 (Frankfurt/New York: Campus, 1981). Cf.Google Scholar
  3. Irene Hardach-Pinke en Gerd Hardach (eds), Deutsche Rindheiten. Autobio grafischen Zeugnisse, 1700–1900 (Kronberg: Athenäum, 1978).Google Scholar
  4. 3.
    R.M. Dekker, R. Lindeman and Y Scherf, Egodocumenten van Noord-Nederlanders uit de zestiende tot begin negentiende eeuw. Een chronologische lijst (Haarlem: Stichting Egodocument, 1993) and idem, Reisverslagen van Noord-Nederlanders uit de zestiende tot begin negentiende eeuw. Een chronologische lijst (Haarlem: Stichting Egodocument, 1993). A survey of the results: Rudolf Dekker, ‘“Dat mijn lieven kinderen weten zouden...”. Egodocumenten in Nederland van de zestiende tot de negentiende eeuw’, Opossum. Tijdschrift voor Historische en Runstwetenschappen 3 (1993) pp. 5–22; idem, ‘Ego-Dokumente in den Niederlanden vom 16. bis zum 19. Jahrhundert’, in Winfried Schulze (ed.), Ego-Dokumente. Annäherung an den Menschen in der Geschichte (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1996) pp. 33–59; idem, ‘Verzeichnen und Edieren niederländischer Ego-Dokumente vom 16. bis zum frühen 19. Jahrhundert’, Edith (1995) pp. 80–95. Cf.Google Scholar
  5. G. Kalff, Het Dietsche dagboek (Groningen/Batavia: J.B. Wolters, 1935);Google Scholar
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  7. 5.
    Cf. Natalie Zemon Davis, ‘Boundaries and the Sense of Self in Sixteenth-century France’, in Thomas C. Heller et al. (eds), Reconstructing Individualism. Autonomy, Individuality, and the Self in Western Thought (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1986) pp. 53–64;Google Scholar
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    A survey of literature R.M. Dekker, ‘Egodocumenten: een literatuuroverzieht’, Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis 101 (1988) pp. 161–90.Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    Rudolf Dekker, ‘Dutch Travel Journals from the Sixteenth to the Early Nineteenth Centuries’, Lias. Sources and Documents relating to the Early Modern History of Ideas 22 (1995) pp. 277–300;Google Scholar
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  12. 8.
    P.J. Buijnsters, ‘Het geheime dagboek van Hieronymus van Alphen’, De Nieuwe Taalgids 61 (1968) pp. 73–83.Google Scholar
  13. 12.
    Isabella H. van Eeghen, Meniste vrijage. Jakob van Geuns (1769–1832). Gronings dokter, Amsterdams ‘kassier’ (Amsterdam: H.D. Tjeenk Willink, 1969) p. 50.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Marcellus Emants, A Posthumous Confession, tr. J.M. Coetzee (London: Quartet Books, 1986; first Dutch edn, Een nagelaten bekentenis, 1894).Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Louis Couperus, Eline Vere. Een Haagsche roman (Amsterdam: Van Kampen, 1889); English tr. by J.T. Grein published in 1892 by Chapman and Hall, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Uitgeverij Wereldbibliotheek BV 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rudolf Dekker
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of History and ArtErasmus University RotterdamThe Netherlands

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