Court culture, time consciousness and the development of autobiographical writing in the seventeenth century. An analysis of the diary of Constantijn Huygens Jr. (1628-1697) in a social and cultural context
09 / 2009 - 08 / 2010
Constantijn Huygens Jr (1628-1697), who kept a diary most of his life, was secretary to William III of Orange, stadholder and king of England. Huygens's extensive and rich diary provides us with information on the practice of diary writing, thus affording new insights into the history of autobiographical writing. The diary, which reflects the coming of a new time consciousness regulated by clocks and watches, served the author as a tool in charting the complex and ever changing microcosm of an early-modern princely court. Surprisingly, courts were a fertile breeding ground for diary writing and autobiographical writing in general. Huygens's diary contributes much to our knowledge of both the history of autobiographic writing and of society and culture in Holland and England in the second half of the seventeenth century.