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Aristocratic Literacy: Pieter Teding Van Berkhout And His 'Journal' (1669–1712)

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Chapter Summary

Two models may be used to describe the seventeenth-century aristocratic reader, one informed by humanism, the other informed by the ideal of good breeding. From Pieter Teding van Berkhout's diary we can learn a good deal about what aristocrats read in the latter half of the seventeenth century, as well as how, where and when they read. This chapter analyses the uses of writing, the other side of literacy, in this social group. Pieter Teding van Berkhout called the first section of his diary 'journal, contenant mes occupations depuis le 1 de janvier 1669 jusqu'au 15iesme du moijs du juijllet 1669'. It was the first part of a text that would ultimately grow into a 31-part manuscript in which Berkhout wrote an account of his activities on a virtually daily basis until 1713.

Keywords: aristocratic literacy; good breeding; humanism; journal; Pieter Teding Van Berkhout



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