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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A diary is a record (originally in handwritten format) with discrete entries arranged by date reporting on what has happened over the course of a day or other period. Diaries undertaken for institutional purposes play a role in many aspects of human civilization, including government records (e.g., Hansard), business ledgers and military records. Schools or parents may teach or require children to keep diaries in order to encourage the expression of feelings and to promote thought.

Generally the term is today employed for personal diaries, in which the writer may detail more personal information and normally intended to remain private or to have a limited circulation amongst friends or relatives. The writer may also describe recent events in his/her personal diary. The word "journal" may be sometimes used for "diary," but generally one writes daily in a diary, whereas journal-writing can be less frequent.

Whilst a diary may provide information for a memoir, autobiography or biography, it is generally written not with the intention of being published as it stands, but for the author's own use. In recent years however there is internal evidence in some diaries (e.g., those of Alan Clark, Tony Benn or Simon Gray) that they are written with eventual publication in mind, with the intention of self-vindication (pre- or posthumous) or simply for profit.

Diaries are highly varied, from business notations, to listings of weather and daily personal events, to inner explorations of the human psyche, to expressions of one's deepest self to records of thoughts and ideas.

By extension the term diary is also used to mean a printed publication of a written diary; and may also refer to other terms of journal including electronic formats (e.g., blogs).



The word diary comes from the Latin diarium ("daily allowance," from dies "day"), found more often in the plural form diaria. The word journal comes from the same root (diurnus "of the day") through Old French jurnal (modern French for day is jour).

Until around the turn of the 20th century, with the worldwide rise of literacy, diary writing was generally a practice of the members of the middle and upper classes.

The oldest extant diaries come from Middle Eastern and East Asian cultures, although the even earlier work To Myself (Τὰ εἰς ἑαυτόν), written in Greek by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius in the second half of the 2nd century AD, already displays many characteristics of a diary. Pillowbooks of Japanese court ladies and Asian travel journals offer some aspects of this genre of writing, although they rarely consist exclusively of diurnal records. The scholar Li Ao (9th century AD), for example, kept a diary of his journey through southern China.

In the medieval Near East, Arabic diaries were written from before the 10th century. The earliest surviving diary of this era which most resembles the modern diary was that of Ibn Banna in the 11th century. His diary is the earliest known to be arranged in order of date (ta'rikh in Arabic), very much like modern diaries.[1]

The precursors of the diary in the modern sense include daily notes of medieval mystics, concerned mostly with inward emotions and outward events perceived as spiritually important (e.g. Elizabeth of Schönau, Agnes Blannbekin, Margarite Ebner, (and perhaps also in the lost vernacular account of her visions by Beatrice of Nazareth).

From the Renaissance on, some individuals wanted not only to record events, as in medieval chronicles and itineraries, but also to put down their own opinions and express their hopes and fears, without any intention to publish these notes. One of the early preserved examples is the anonymous Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris that covers the years 1405-1449 giving subjective commentaries on the current events. Famous 14th- to 16th-century Renaissance examples, which appeared much later as books, were the diaries by the Florentines Buonaccorso Pitti and Gregorio Dati and the Venetian Marino Sanuto the Younger. Here we find records of even less important everyday occurrences with much reflection, emotional experience and personal impressions.

Published diaries

Many diaries of notable figures have been published and form an important element of autobiographical literature.

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) is the earliest diarist who is well-known today; his diaries, preserved in Magdalene College, Cambridge, were first transcribed and published in 1825. Pepys was amongst the first who took the diary beyond mere business transaction notation, into the realm of the personal. Pepys' contemporary John Evelyn also kept a notable diary, and their works are among the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period, and consist of eyewitness accounts of many great events, such as the Great Plague of London, and the Great Fire of London.

The practice of posthumous publication of diaries of literary and other notables began in the 19th century. As examples, the Grasmere Journa of Dorothy Wordsworth (1771-1855) was published in 1897; the Journals of Fanny Burney (1752-1840) were published in 1889; the diaries of Henry Crabb Robinson (1776-1867) were published in 1869.

Among important U.S. Civil War diaries are those of George Templeton Strong, a New York lawyer, and Mary Chesnut, the wife of a Confederate officer. The diary of Jemima Condict, living in the area of what is now West Orange, New Jersey, includes local observations of the American Revolutionary War.

Since the 19th century the publication of diaries by their authors has become commonplace – notably amongst politicians seeking justification but also amongst artists and litterateurs of all descriptions. Amongst late 20th century British published political diaries, those of Richard Crossman, Tony Benn and Alan Clark are representative, the latter being more indiscreet in the tradition of the diaries of Chips Channon. In Britain in the field of the arts notable diaries were published by James Lees-Milne, Roy Strong and Peter Hall.

One of the most famous modern diaries, widely read and translated, is the posthumously published "Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank, who wrote it whilst in hiding during the German occupation of Amsterdam in the 1940s. Otto Frank edited his daughter's diary and arranged for its publication after the War.

The writing of diaries was also often practised from the 20th century onwards as a conscious act of self-exploration (of greater or lesser sincerity) – examples being the diaries of Carl Jung, Aleister Crowley and Anaïs Nin.[2] Among important diaries by 20th-century literary figures are those of Franz Kafka and Edmund Wilson.

A strong psychological effect may arise from having an audience for one's self-expression, even if this is the book one writes in, only read by oneself - particularly in adversity. Anne Frank went so far as to name her diary "Kitty." Friedrich Kellner, a court official in Nazi Germany, thought of his diary as a weapon for any future fight against tyrants and terrorism, and named it "Mein Widerstand," "My Opposition." Victor Klemperer was similarly concerned with recording for the future the tyrannies and hypocrisies of Nazi Germany and of its East German successor state in his diaries. In none of these cases however did the authors anticipate early — or indeed any — publication.

Journal writing software

While some people use standard word processing software to keep electronic journals or diaries there are computer programs that are designed specifically for journal writing. Many have templates for daily, weekly, monthly or random entries. These programs have been designed to allow journal and diary writers to capture their thoughts as well as images, links or other notable information easily and in one location. All such software is, of course, an aid in the keeping of a journal or diary and not the actual creation of it. A number of these programs offer the ability to post journal entries to Blogs. Some organizer software (e.g. Outlook and GoBinder) has the ability to make diary entries.

Internet diaries

As internet access became commonly available, many people adopted it as another medium in which to chronicle their lives with the added dimension of an audience. The first online diary is thought to be Claudio Pinhanez's "Open Diary," published at the MIT Media Lab website from 14 November 1994 until 1996.[3] Other early online diarists include Justin Hall, who began eleven years of personal online diary-writing in 1994,[4] Carolyn Burke, who started publishing "Carolyn's Diary" on 3 January 1995,[5] and Bryon Sutherland, who announced his diary The Semi-Existence of Bryon in a USENET newsgroup on 19 April 1995.[6]

Web-based services such as Open Diary (started in October, 1998) and LiveJournal (January, 1999) soon appeared to streamline and automate online publishing, but growth in personal storytelling came with the emergence of blogs. While the format first focused on external links and topical commentary, widespread blogging tools were quickly used to create web journals. Recent advances have also been made to enable the privacy of internet diary entries. For example, some diary software now stores entries in encrypted format, such 256-bit AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) encryption, and others only permit access to the diary after correct PIN entry on a secure USB device.

Other forms of diary

Travel journals

A travel journal, travel diary, or road journal, is the documentation of a journey or series of journeys.

Diet journal

A diet journal or food diary is a daily record of all food and beverage consumed, usually for the purpose of the tracking calorie consumption for the purpose of weight loss or other nutritional monitoring.

Workout journals

A workout journal, or exercise tracker, is a journal where one registers exercise undertaken, typically including length of workout and other comments.

Sleep diaries

A sleep diary or sleep log is a tool used in the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders.

Audio journals

An audio journal records the spoken word instead of the written word. Some people use tape recorders or voice recorders to document their life.


The German Tagebuch (a literal translation being 'day book') is normally rendered as diary in English, although this may include workbooks or working journals as well as diaries proper; for example, the notebooks of the Austrian writer Robert Musil.

Unusual diaries

Some officer cadets at the Royal Military College of Canada wrote their diaries in India ink on their t-squares; examples of these from the 1880s are retained in the College's museum.

Fictional diaries

There are numerous examples of fictional diaries. One of the earliest printed fictional diaries was the humorous Diary of a Nobody by George Grossmith and his brother Weedon. 20th century examples include radio broadcasts (e.g. Mrs. Dale's Diary) and published books (e.g. the Diaries of Adrian Mole). Both prompted long-running satirical features in the magazine Private Eye: the former entitled Mrs Wilson's Diary in reference to Mary Wilson, wife of Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the latter entitled "The Secret Diary of John Major Aged 47¾" and written as a pastiche of the Adrian Mole diaries from the perspective of the then Prime Minister John Major.

See also


  1. ^ Makdisi, George (May 1986), "The Diary in Islamic Historiography: Some Notes", History and Theory 25 (2): 173–85, doi:10.2307/2505304 
  2. ^ This practice is explored in Tristine Rainer, The New Diary, 1978.
  3. ^ a copy of his "open diary" is still in existence
  4. ^ "Time to get a life — pioneer blogger Justin Hall bows out at 31". SFgate. 2005-02-20. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2005/02/20/MNGBKBEJO01.DTL. Retrieved 2006-06-09. 
  5. ^ "Carolyn's Diary"
  6. ^ USENET announcement

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Diary (novel) article)

From Wikiquote

Diary is a 2003 novel by American author Chuck Palahniuk.

  • "Just for the record, the weather today is partly suspicious with chances of betrayal.”
  • "And the more she could imagine this island, the less she liked the real world. The more she could imagine the people, the less she liked any real people. [...] It got until she didn’t belong anywhere. It got so nobody was good enough, refined enough, real enough. [...] Nothing was as real as her imagined world."
  • "You can’t put up with anything less than lovely. You spend your life running, avoiding, escaping. That quest for something pretty. A cheat. A cliché."
  • "If emotion can create a physical action, then duplicating the physical action can re-create the emotion."
  • "Leonardo's Mona Lisa is just a thousand thousand smears of paint. Michelangelo's David is just a million hits with a hammer. We're all of us a million bits put together the right way."
  • "It's so hard to forget pain, but it's even harder to remember sweetness. We have no scar to show for happiness. We learn so little from peace."
  • Grace says, "We all die." She says, "The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."
  • "There is nothing special in the world. Nothing magic. Just physics."
  • "What you don't understand you can make mean anything."
  • "Today is the longest day of the year-but anymore, everyday is. The weather today is increasing concern followed by fullblown dread. The man calling from Long Beach, he says his bathroom is missing."
  • "Dear sweet Peter. Can you feel this?"
  • “... you people with your ex-wives and stepchildren, your blended families and failed marriages, you’ve ruined your world and now you want to ruin mine...”
  • "If you're not drunk and half naked by this point, you're not paying attention."
  • "Leave this island before you can't."
  • "Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It's all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary."
  • "Just for the record, the weather today is calm and sunny, but the air is full of bullshit."
  • "All the effort in the world won't matter if you're not inspired."
  • "What she learned is what she always learns. Plato was right. We are all of us immortal. We couldn't die if we wanted to."
  • "If you're here, then you've failed again."
  • "We were here. We are here. We will always be here. And we've failed again."
  • The official name for your liver spots is hyperpigmented lentigines. The official anatomy word for a wrinkle is rhytide. Those creases in the top half of your face, the rhytides plowed across your forehead and around your eyes, this is dynamic wrinkling, also called hyperfunctional facial lines, caused by the movement of underlying muscles. Most wrinkles in the lower half of the face are tatic rhytides, caused by sun and gravity.
  • Your skin comes in three basic layers. What you can touch is the stratum corneum, a layer of flat, dead skin cells pushed up by the new cells under them. What you feel, that greasy feeling, is your acid mantle, the coating of oil and sweat that protects you from germs and fungus. Under that is your dermis. Below the dermis is a layer of fat. Below the fat are the muscles of your face
  • When you pull up your upper lip----when you show that one top tooth, the one the museum guard broke----this is your levator labii superioris muscle at work. Your sneer muscle. Let's pretend you smell some old stale urine. Imagine your husband's just killed himself in your family car. Imagine you have to go out and sponge his piss out of the driver's seat.
  • When a normal person, some normal innocent person who sure as hell deserved a lot better, when she comes home from waiting tables all day and finds her husband suffocated in the family car, his bladder leaking, and she screams, this is simply her orbicularis stretched to the very limit.
  • "After you know about biology, you don't have to be used by it."
  • "Everyone's in their own personal coma."
  • "You have endless ways you can commit suicide without 'dying' dying."
  • "Let’s look in the mirror. Really look at your face. Look at your eyes, your mouth.

This is what you think you know best."

  • If you're a little confused right now, relax. Don't worry. All you need to know is this is your face. This is what you think you know best.

These are the tree layers of your skin.
These are the three women in your life.
The epidermis, the dermis, and the fat.
Your wife, your daughter, and your mother.

  • "Stendhal syndrome, Angel says, is a medical term. It's when a painting, or any form of art, is so beautiful it overwhelms the viewer. It's a form of shock. When Standhal toured the Church of Santa Croce in Florence in 1817, he reported almost fainting from joy. People feel rapid heart palpitations. They get dizzy. Looking at great art makes you forget your own name, forget even where you're at. It can bring on depression and physical exhaustion. Amnesia. Panic. Heart attack. Collapse."
  • "Now, smile—if you still can."
  • The weather today is increasing concern followed by full-blown dread.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DIARY, the Lat. diarium (from dies, a day), the book in which are preserved the daily memoranda regarding events and actions which come under the writer's personal observation, or are related to him by others. The person who keeps this record is called a diarist. It is not necessary that the entries in a diary should be made each day, since every life, however full, must contain absolutely empty intervals. But it is essential that the entry should be made during the course of the day to which it refers. When this has evidently not been done, as in the case of Evelyn's diary, there is nevertheless an effort made to give the memoranda the effect of being so recorded, and in point of fact, even in a case like that of Evelyn, it is probable that what we now read is an enlargement of brief notes jotted down on the day cited. When this is not approximately the case, the diary is a fraud, for its whole value depends on its instantaneous transcript of impressions.

In its primitive form, the diary must always have existed; as soon as writing was invented, men and women must have wished to note down, in some almanac or journal, memoranda respecting their business, their engagements or their adventures. But the literary value of these would be extremely insignificant until the spirit of individualism had crept in, and human beings began to be interesting to other human beings for their own sake. It is not, therefore, until the close of the Renaissance that we find diaries beginning to have literary value, although, as the study of sociology extends, every scrap of genuine and unaffected record of early history possesses an ethical interest. In the 17th century, diaries began to be largly written in England, although in most cases without any idea of even eventual publication. Sir William Dugdale (1605-1686) had certainly no expectation that his slight diary would ever see the light. There is no surviving record of a journal kept by Clarendon, Richard Baxter, Lucy Hutchinson and other autobiographical writers of the middle of the century, but we may take it for granted that they possessed some such record, kept from day to day. Bulstrode Whitelocke (1605-1675), whose Memorials of the English Af f airs covers the ground from 1625 to 1660, was a genuine diarist. So was the elder George Fox (1624-1690), who kept not merely "a great journal," but "the little journal books," and whose work was published in 1694. The famous diary of John Evelyn (1620-1706) professes to be the record of seventy years, and, although large tracts of it are covered in a very perfunctory manner, while in others many of the entries have the air of having been written in long after the event, this is a very interesting and amusing work; it was not published until 1818. In spite of all its imperfections there is a great charm about the diary of Evelyn, and it would hold a still higher position in the history of literature than it does if it were not overshadowed by what is unquestionably the most illustrious of the diaries of the world, that of Samuel Pepys (1633-1703). This was begun on the 1st of January 1660 and was carried on until the 29th of May 1669. The extraordinary value of Pepys' diary consists in its fidelity to the portraiture of its author's character. He feigns nothing, conceals nothing, sets nothing down in malice or insincerity. He wrote in a form of shorthand intelligible to no one but himself, and not a phrase betrays the smallest expectation that any eye but his own would ever investigate the pages of his confession. The importance of this wonderful document, in fact, lay unsuspected until 1819, when the Rev. John Smith of Baldock began to decipher the MS. in Magdalene College, Cambridge. It was not until 1825 that Lord Braybrooke published part of what was only fully edited, under the care of Mr Wheatley, in 1893-1896. In the age which succeeded that of Pepys, a diary of extraordinary emotional interest was kept by Swift from 1710 to 1713, and was sent to Ireland in the form of a "Journal to Stella"; it is a surprising amalgam of ambition, affection, wit and freakishness. John Byrom (1692-1763), the Manchester poet, kept a journal, which was published in 1854. The diary of the celebrated dissenting divine, Philip Doddridge (1702-1751), was printed in 1829. Of far greater interest are the admirably composed and vigorously written journals of John Wesley (1703-1791). But the most celebrated work of this kind produced in the latter half of the 18th century was the diary of Fanny Burney (Madame D'Arblay), published in. 1842-1846. It will be perceived that, without exception, these works were posthumously published, and the whole conception of the diary has been that it should be written for the writer alone, or, if for the public, for the public when all prejudice shall have passed away and all passion cooled down. Thus, and thus only, can the diary be written so as to impress upon its eventual readers a sense of its author's perfect sincerity and courage.

Many of the diaries described above were first published in the opening years of the 19th century, and it is unquestionable that the interest which they awakened in the public led to their imitation. Diaries ceased to be rare, but as a rule the specimens which have hitherto appeared have not presented much literary interest. Exception must be made in favour of the journals of two minor politicians, Charles Greville (1794-1865) and Thomas Creevey (1768-1838), whose indiscretions have added much to the gaiety of nations; the papers of the former appeared in 1874-1887, those of the latter in 1903. The diary of Henry Crabb Robinson (1775-1867), printed in 1869, contains excellent biographical material. Tom Moore's journal, published in 1856 by Lord John Russell, disappointed its readers. But it is probable, if we reason by the analogy of the past, that the most curious and original diaries of the 19th century are still unknown to us, and lie jealously guarded under lock and key by the descendants of those who compiled them.

It was natural that the form of the diary should appeal to a people so sensitive to social peculiarities and so keen in the observation of them as the French. A medieval document of immense value is the diary kept by an anonymous cure during the reigns of Charles VI. and Charles VII. This Journal d'un bourgeois de Paris was kept from 1409 to 1431, and was continued by another hand down to 1449. The marquis de Dangeau (1638-1720) kept a diary from 1684 till the year of his death; this although dull, and as Saint-Simon said "of an insipidity to make you sick," is an inexhaustible storehouse of facts about the reign of Louis XIV. Saint-Simon's own brilliant memoirs, written from 1691 to 1723, may be considered as a sort of diary. The lawyer, Edmond Barbier (1689-1771), wrote a journal of the anecdotes and little facts which came to his knowledge from 1718 to 1762. The studious care which he took to be correct, and his manifest candour, give a singular value to Barbier's record; his diary was not printed at all until 1847, nor, in its entirety, until 1857. The song-writer, Charles Colle (1709-1783), kept a journal historique from 1758 to 1782; it is full of vivacity, but very scandalous and spiteful. It saw the light in 1805, and surprised those to whom Colle, in his lifetime, had seemed the most placid and good-natured of men. Petit de Bachaumont (1690-1770) had access to remarkable sources of information, and his Memoires secrets (a diary the publication of which began in 1762 and was continued after Bachaumont's death, until 1787, by other persons) contains a valuable mass of documents. The marquis d'Argenson (1694-1757) kept a diary, of which a comparatively full textwas first published in 185 9. In recent times the posthumous publication of the diaries of the Russian artist, Marie Bashkirtseff (1860-1884), produced a great sensation in 1887, and revealed a most remarkable temperament. The brothers Jules and Edmond de Goncourt kept a very minute diary of all that occurred around them in artistic and literary Paris; after the death of Jules, in 1870, this was continued by Edmond, who published the three first volumes in 1888. The publication of this work was continued, and it produced no little scandal. It is excessively ill-natured in parts, but of its vivid picturesqueness, and of its general accuracy as a transcript of conversation, there can be no two opinions. (E. G.)

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Simple English

, written in 1903. This page describes the first aeroplane flight]] A diary is a book which a person writes about what they have seen or heard or what they have been doing. Diaries are usually handwritten. People like to keep diaries (meaning: write a diary) for a variety of reasons: they may want to keep a record for themselves about what they have done during their life. They may sometimes want to publish it so that other people can read it. Some diaries may be important for business or military purpose. Children in schools are often asked to write a diary. This helps them to write about what they have been doing and expressing their thoughts.

Some people, such as Samuel Pepys, have become famous as a diarist. Pepys lived at an interesting time (he was alive at the time of the Great Fire of London). We know a lot about what London was like by reading his diary. Anne Frank wrote a diary while she was hiding from the Nazis.

In modern times people write blogs on the internet. This is a modern kind of diary.

The word diary can also be used for a pocket diary: a small book in which people can write down their appointments so that they can remember what they are supposed to be doing each day.

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