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Based on analysis of a diary kept by Constantijn Huygens Jr, the secretary to Stadholder-King William of Orange, this book proposes a new explanation for the invention of the modern, private diary in the 17th century. At the same time it sketches a panoramic view of Europe at the time of the Glorious Revolution and the Nine Years' War, recorded by an eyewitness. The book includes chapters on such subjects as the changing perception of time, book collecting, Huygens's role as connoisseur of art, belief in magic and witchcraft, and gossip and sexuality at the court of William and Mary. Finally this study shows how modern scientific ideas, developed by Huygens's brother Christiaan Huygens, changed our way of looking at the world around us.
Revolutionary Europe Reflected in a Boyhood Diary
A diary kept by a boy in the 1790s sheds new light on the rise of autobiographical writing in the 19th century and sketches a panoramic view of Europe in the Age of Enlightenment. The French Revolution and the Batavian Revolution in the Netherlands provide the backdrop to this study, which ranges from changing perceptions of time, space and nature to the thought of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and its influence on such far-flung fields as education, landscape gardening and politics. The book describes the high expectations people had of science and medicine, and their disappointment at the failure of these new branches of learning to cure the world of its ills.
In recent years the interest in egodocuments, a new term covering all forms of autobiographical writing, has expanded in history and other disciplines. This series publishes books addressing two overlapping and connected fields of study: cultural and social history based on egodocuments, and studies of the history of autobiographical writing within a cultural and social context. In some cases the subject may be an individual text or author, while in others the focus may be on collections of diaries, memoirs, and letters, or groups of authors.

Egodocuments and History is a broadly conceived series open to multi-disciplinary and innovative research. Publications will address issues that have come to the forefront of research in this field, including autofiction, ghostwriting, authenticity, memory, and the relationship between written, oral and visual culture. The historical range of the series is broad, from the Middle Ages to the present, as is the range of countries and languages of textual origin in consideration – all are welcome.

Authors are cordially invited to submit proposals and/or full manuscripts to either the series editor, Michaël Green, or the Publisher at Brill, Alessandra Giliberto.

Brill is in full support of Open Access publishing and offers the option to publish your monograph, edited volume, or chapter in Open Access. Our Open Access services are fully compliant with funder requirements. We support Creative Commons licenses. For more information, please visit Brill Open or contact us at
Developments in Auto­biographical Writing since the Sixteenth Century
This book explores new questions and approaches to the rise of autobiographical writing since the early modern period. What motivated more and more men and women to write records of their private life? How could private writing grow into a bestselling genre? How was this rapidly expanding genre influenced by new ideas about history that emerged around 1800? How do we explain the paradox of the apparent privacy of publicity in many autobiographies? Such questions are addressed with reference to well-known autobiographies and an abundance of newfound works by persons hitherto unknown, not only from Europe, but also the Near East, and Japan. This volume features new views of the complex field of historical autobiography studies, and is the first to put the genre in a global perspective.