The Diary of Heinrich Witt

Editor: Ulrich Muecke
The diary of Heinrich Witt (1799-1892) is the most extensive private diary written in Latin America known to us today. Witt was born in Altona near Hamburg and went to Peru in 1824 for the English merchant house Gibbs. In his diary written in English, he describes his childhood and youth in Altona, his first professional years in England and his daily life and long voyages in Peru and to Europe. The diary gives a unique version of commerce and trade, politics and politicians, and of lawsuits and corruption in nineteenth-century Peru and abroad. It abounds in details about family life, customs and culture, and is a truly unique source for everyone interested in the history of Peru and of international trade and migration.
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Biographical Note

Ulrich Mücke, Dr. phil, is Professor of Latin American and Iberian History at the University of Hamburg. Among his many published and edited books are Political Culture in Nineteenth-Century Peru: The Rise of the Partido Civil (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004), and Autobiografía del Perú Republicano. Ensayos sobre historia y la narrativa del yo (Biblioteca Nacional del Perú 2015, with M. Velázquez).

Review Quote

The Diary of Heinrich Witt was declared National Cultural Heritage of Peru by Viceministral Resolution of the Ministry of Culture of Peru on June 19, 2017.

"[Witt] provides a gold mine for historians of Peru’s nineteenth century. Specialists in fields from cultural to economic history will benefit greatly, and I jotted down notes on topics such as domestic servants, Lima’s weather, the memory ofthe 1814 Angulo-Pumacahua uprising in Cuzco, the Peru-Bolivia Confederation, slave uprisings, the Chinese in Lima, lawsuits and corruption, the nascent merchant elite (the Pflucker and Garland families, among others, are prominent), mining in Huancavelica, and much, much more. In the midst of reading this, I sent notes to about a dozen people alerting them to Witt’s passages on topics ranging from Andeanmummies in Denmark to the 1876 census. (I’ll admit that I became particularly intrigued when reading about “Mrs. Walker’s Hotel” in Lima in the 1820s and 1830s.) Witt presents an astonishing amount of information, even some sketches, and historians, guided by the indispensable index, will mine these diaries for decades. [...] Numerous theses can and probably will be written on the upper classes and their customs (sociability) based on Witt’s diaries."
Charles F. Walker (University of California, Davis), in: Hispanic American Historical Review 97:4 (November 2017), p. 719-721.

This edition of Witt’s diary constitutes a very important source for historians. It is also a treasure trove for interdisciplinary postcolonial and transcultural research. Literary scholars can identify Witt’s narratological features and rhetorical strategies in detail. Witt’s diary provides unique opportunities for a host of profound and innovative studies.
Angelika Schaser, in: European Journal of Life Writing, vol 6 (2017).

Table of contents

Volume 1
Acknowledgements ... vii
Preface ... ix
A Short Biography of Heinrich Witt ... x
History of the Diary of Heinrich Witt ... lxxxix
The Diary of Heinrich Witt and Autobiographical Writing in the Nineteenth Century ... cxxiii
Form and Content of the Diary of Heinrich Witt ... cxlii
Spanish Editions of the Diary of Heinrich Witt ... clxi
About the Edition ... clxxiv

The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 1 ... i – 740

Volume 2
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 2 ... i – 739

Volume 3
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 3 ... i – 671

Volume 4
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 4 ... i – 733

Volume 5
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 5 ... i – 606

Volume 6
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 6 ... i – 762

Volume 7
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 7 ... i – 819

Volume 8
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 8 ... i – 635

Volume 9
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 9 ... i – 613

Volume 10
The Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 10 ... i – 699

DRAFT DIARY, Volume 1
The Draft Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 1 ... i – 354 (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE ONLINE EDITION)

DRAFT DIARY, Volume 2
The Draft Diary of Heinrich Witt, Volume 2 ... i – 347 (ONLY AVAILABLE IN THE ONLINE EDITION)

Readership

All interested in the history of Peru, of Altona and Hamburg and of international trade and migration in the 19th century, and anyone concerned with autobiographical writing at that time.

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