Nicolay’s Approach to His Subject Matter
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Nicolay’s unpublished memoirs deviate from the usual pattern of memoirists in that he is very little concerned with himself. The memoirs, which were written in 1811 partially with the aid of older notes deal primarily with famous men of the second half of the eighteenth century. His account of these men whom he personally met is based on his own unbiased observation. Though Nicolay is often critical of his subject, he had no intention of offending anyone and thus asked to publish his memoirs no sooner, “als nach dem Verlaufe eines Menschenalters.” He adds: “Ich mögte, auch nach meinem Tode, keine lebendige Seele, wenn sie es auch noch so sehr verdient hätte, gekränkt haben.”
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