Clio poetry: Theoretical Approaches to the diary genre Cover Image

Klios Dichtung: Gattungstheoretische Annäherungen an das Tagebuch
Clio poetry: Theoretical Approaches to the diary genre

Author(s): Arvi Sepp
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Łódzkie Towarzystwo Naukowe

Summary/Abstract: The diary as an independent genre has not yet received the large attention of the autobiography in literary theory. Therefore, in this paper a number of theoretical reflections must be addressed to examine the characteristics of this genre. To do so, this contribution revolves around three major focal points: Firstly, the historicity of the diary will be examined. The textual hybridity of the diary - with its dialectics of micro- and macro-perspective on history, fact and fiction, authenticity and literariness will be analyzed. The diary can in many cases be seen as both historical document and literary prose text and can thus become an object of study to historiography and literary theory alike; secondly, the generic specificity of the diary in contrast to other autobiographical genres such as memoir, letter, confession, chronicle or autobiography itself will be defined. The journal is due to its temporal structure always bound to the concrete day of writing. This implies that everyday experience, the focus on quotidian and at times seemingly banal details, play an important role in diaristic narrativity, much more so than in classical autobiography or memoir; thirdly, the diary can be considered as an important medium of witnessing - first and foremost as a textual genre highly popular during (personal andlor historical) crises. The high degree of subjectivity of the diary allows for manifold reflections on the state of mind and the psyche of the writing subject. At the same the diary is highly indicative of Zeitgeist and it comments pivotal historical events as they were experienced by a concrete individual. The interdisciplinary approach to the diary will combine insights from philosophy, literary theory, and historiography.

  • Issue Year: 54/2011
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 233-255
  • Page Count: 23
  • Language: German