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Mirror Of Literacy: Reading And Writing In The Diary (1624) Of David Beck

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Chapter Summary

David Beck's diary tells about the books that non-scholars read in the seventeenth century and describes their role in everyday life. It describes a wretched year in Dutch history. It is unlikely that the text as it is preserved today actually consists of the notes he made on a daily basis. In beautiful calligraphy he informed his readers that the manuscript was a 'daily history' of events that had taken place in The Hague, but more especially about 'my own comings and goings', written down 'as a sweet memorial for the benefit of my dear children, as a mirror of my life'. Literacy made it possible to enjoy or in some cases to write works of literature, and a love of literature could generate a new circle of acquaintances, as is clear from the everyday conversations recorded by David Beck.

Keywords: David Beck; diary; Hague; literacy



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