The New Adolescent

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


Today, many adolescents keep a diary. Young men and women use their diaries to help in their search for their own identity. They record their pursuit of intellectual autonomy, conflicts with parents, the search for intimacy outside the family circle and their future career. Diaries of this sort, however, are extremely rare before the late nineteenth century. The first Dutch example is that of Alexander van Goltstein, who started to write in 1801. For the first time, a young man gives us information about essential aspects of the transition from youth to adulthood. He writes extensively about his choice of profession and about his religious development, and admits that they are ‘two matters I absolutely have to make up my mind about’ (15 October 1806). He also writes about his budding sexuality, a crucial aspect of developing adulthood, but one which is very seldom mentioned in egodocuments prior to the nineteenth century. In addition, he comments on the books he reads and reveals that he hopes to profit from them in his search for an adult identity.


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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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