March 13, 2006
MarkBernstein.org
 
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A Book of One's Own: people and their diaries

by Thomas Mallon

A brilliant, generous, and comprehensive study of journals, Mallon reads everything in sight: little girl's locked dimestore confidantes, Degas' sketchbooks, Weston's daybooks, Nixon's tapes. He builds a taxonomy of diaries that consitutes an invaluable antidotes to the facile dismissal of weblogs as indulgent and adolescent. Mallon finds an intriguing range of diarists:

He wears his erudition lightly and understands that literary taxonomists need to look beneath the surface: the chapter on prisoners ranges gracefully from Dreyfus to Anne Franck to Albert Speer to Alice James.