Controlling Time and Shaping the Self

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.
Restricted Access


EUR €149.00USD $198.00

Biographical Note

Arianne Baggerman studied history at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has published various books and articles in the fields of book history and cultural history. Professor Baggerman previously taught at the Utrecht University, and is now teaching history at Erasmus and is Professor of Book History at the University of Amsterdam.

Rudolf Dekker studied history at the University of Amster¬dam. He has published a number of books and articles on social and cultural history. Recently, he published a survey of the History of the Netherlands.

Michael Mascuch read Modern History at Cambridge University. His research has focused on early modern English culture and society. He now teaches in the Department of Rhetoric at the University of California at Berkeley.

Editorial Board

Advisory Board
James Amelang, Universidad Autónoma Madrid
Peter Burke, Emmanuel College Cambridge
Philippe Lejeune, Emeritus, Université de Paris-Nord
Claudia Ulbrich, Freie Universität Berlin

Review Quotes

"Der vorliegende Band verdeutlicht insgesamt das überaus reiche und anregende Spektrum gegenwärtiger Selbstzeugnisforschung. Außerdem zu loben ist das sorgfältige Lektorat, mit welchem der Band vorbereitet wurde. Überaus hilfreich sind auch die passend ausgewählten Illustrationen und Ausschnitte aus Originalquellen mit Übersetzungen (zum Beispiel S. 45f.). Der Sammelband vermag neue Impulse für weitere Projekte zu geben, die sich mit Selbstzeugnissen aus verschiedenen Jahrhunderten und Ländern beschäftigen." Julia Hildt,

Table of contents

List of Illustrations
Notes on Contributors

Introduction, Arianne Baggerman, Rudolf Dekker and Michael Mascuch


Historicizing the Self, 1770-1830, Peter Burke

Tracing Lives: The Spanish Inquisition and the Act of Autobiography, James S. Amelang

Autobiographical Memory in the Making: Wilhelmina of Prussia’s Childhood Memoirs , Lotte van de Pol

Drastic History and the Production of Autobiography, Peter Fritsche

Marc-Antoine Jullien: Controlling Time, Philippe Lejeune

The Diary and the Pocket Watch: Rethinking Time in Nineteenth-Century America, Molly McCarthy

Writing and Measuring Time: Nineteenth-Century French Teenagers’ Diaries, Marilyn Himmesoëte

Marking Time: Australian Women’s Diaries of the 1920s and 1930s, Katie Holmes

The Second World War and Autobiography in Japan. Tales of War and the “Movement for One’s Own History” (Jibunshi), Petra Buchholz

Can There Be a Collective Egodocument? The Case of the Hashomer Hatzair Kehiliyatenu Collection in Palestine, 1922, Ofer Nordheimer Nur


The Economy of Narrative Identity, Paul John Eakin

Behind the Mask of Civility: Physiognomy and Unmasking in the Early Eighteenth-Century Dutch Republic, Eveline Koolhaas-Grosfeld

John Wesley, Superstar: Periodicity, Celebrity, and the Sensibility of Methodist Society in Wesley’s Journal (1740-91),
Michael Mascuch

Self-made Men and the Civic: Time, Space and Narrative in Late Nineteenth-Century Autobiography, Donna Loftus

Life Writing, Marketing and the Construction of Cinema History: On the Ghostwritten Autobiography of Dutch Film Entrepreneur Abraham Tuschinski, André van der Velden

“Reading The Body”: Authors’ Portraits and their Significance for the Nineteenth-Century Reading Public, Lisa Kuitert

Dutch Matrimonial Advertisements from 1825 until 1925: Changing Self-Portraits and Partner Profiles, Pieter R.D. Stokvis

Autobiography and Contemporary History: The Dutch Reception of Autobiographies, 1850-1918, Marijke Huisman

The Politics of Nostalgia or the Janus-Face of Modern Society, Henri Beunders


Lost Time: Temporal Discipline and Historical Awareness in Nineteenth-Century Dutch Egodocuments, Arianne Baggerman


All those interested in the history of autobiographical writing, and in cultural history in general.


Collection Information