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Egodocuments and History: Autobiographical Writing in its Social Context since the Middle Ages (review)

Egodocuments and History: Autobiographical Writing in its Social Context since the Middle Ages... 07-reviews (Bio 26-3) 9/4/03 8:23 AM Page 467 Reviews 467 Rudolf Dekker, ed. Egodocuments and History: Autobiographical Writing in its Social Context since the Middle Ages. Hilverum: Verloren, 2002. 192 pp. ISBN 90-6550-434-7, Euro19,50. Dutch historian Jacques Presser used the term “egodocuments” to describe a range of autobiographical materials, including diaries, memoirs, and wills— the stuff we have been calling “life writing”—to signal its distance from ear- lier notions of what constituted autobiography. “Egodocument” sounded awkward to me, its echo of psychological “ego” presence distracting. More forcefully than Rudolf Dekker’s rather conservative though scholarly intro- duction, however, this collection of essays demonstrates the flexibility of the term. The material the scholars represented here discuss is less diverse than the range of photographs, paintings, film, and written texts many academics are examining in their exploration of subjectivity, identity, community, and history. “Egodocuments,” however, make a strong showing. Dekker’s explicit aim is to make Presser’s term more accepted, arguing that in addition to wide acceptance in the Netherlands, it is being adopted in Germany and France. His definition of the term follows Philippe Lejeune’s “pacte autobiographique,” but concedes that the decision to call a text an egodocument “may vary from reader http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Egodocuments and History: Autobiographical Writing in its Social Context since the Middle Ages (review)

Biography , Volume 26 (3) – Oct 30, 2003

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

07-reviews (Bio 26-3) 9/4/03 8:23 AM Page 467 Reviews 467 Rudolf Dekker, ed. Egodocuments and History: Autobiographical Writing in its Social Context since the Middle Ages. Hilverum: Verloren, 2002. 192 pp. ISBN 90-6550-434-7, Euro19,50. Dutch historian Jacques Presser used the term “egodocuments” to describe a range of autobiographical materials, including diaries, memoirs, and wills— the stuff we have been calling “life writing”—to signal its distance from ear- lier notions of what constituted autobiography. “Egodocument” sounded awkward to me, its echo of psychological “ego” presence distracting. More forcefully than Rudolf Dekker’s rather conservative though scholarly intro- duction, however, this collection of essays demonstrates the flexibility of the term. The material the scholars represented here discuss is less diverse than the range of photographs, paintings, film, and written texts many academics are examining in their exploration of subjectivity, identity, community, and history. “Egodocuments,” however, make a strong showing. Dekker’s explicit aim is to make Presser’s term more accepted, arguing that in addition to wide acceptance in the Netherlands, it is being adopted in Germany and France. His definition of the term follows Philippe Lejeune’s “pacte autobiographique,” but concedes that the decision to call a text an egodocument “may vary from reader

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Oct 30, 2003

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