Dan's Metablog
Writing about blogging, identity, and narrative

Lejeune's "How Do Diaries End?"   Sunday, February 26   9:34 PM

Another Biography article, Philippe Lejeune's "How Do Diaries End?" translated from the French for the Winter 2001 issue. Lejeune catalogues the ways print diaries end (and, along the way, the reasons we might write them) in reference to an exhibit on diaries. I'm starting to feel like "print diary" is the new "acoustic guitar."

In the course of discussing print diaries, Lejeune makes a few observations that seem relevant to lifelogs. First, a note about the materiality of diaries in relation to their endings which illustrates the difference between the two genres:

The choice of material is tied to an apprehension about death. The size and thickness of the notebook selected do not merely correspond to practical constraints. If it's too big, I'll never finish it. The excess space is the silence of death. If it's too small, I'll run up against the final word. (102)

A secondly, a dichotomy of diary writing styles:

There are two schools of diary-writers. There are those who write each day out of discipline or habit, who suffer when they skip a day and "catch up" when they're behind, filling in omissions. And there are those who write, more or less regularly, when they need to. In the latter case, the most common one, how do you know if a journal is "finished"? (105)

Cite for this article:

Lejeune, Philippe. "How Do Diaries End?" Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 24.1 (Winter 2001): 99-112.

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