Thursday, June 27, 2013

Diary briefs

Diary of top Hitler aide unveiled in US - Reuters, The New York Times, The Independent, CNN

My Mother’s Unknown Life - Union Books, Daily Mail

Darlington Railway Museum acquires diaries - The Northern Echo

Dorothea’s War - Orion Books, Googlebooks

Alaskan gold rush diaries - Amazon, Hazelet’s Journal

A Doctor on the Western Front - Pen & Sword Military

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Hessian at West Point

‘I became totally lost in my meditations as I tried to imagine the American army in its wretched condition, such as we had often encountered it during the year 1776 and chased it from hill to hill. On the other side I tried to envisage the splendid and formidable army of the English, consisting mostly of veterans who despite all dangers had swum across nearly a half of the earth’s diameter. But they were put to such poor use that eight campaigns were lost, followed by the loss of thirteen provinces, which, in a word, had torn down the crown of England from its loftiest peak.’ This is the Kassel-born soldier, Johann Ewald, reflecting in his diary - now considered historically important - during a visit to West Point, New York, in the aftermath of the American War of Independence. He and his Hessian troops had served with the (losing) British forces, and were waiting to return to Europe. Today marks the 200th anniversary of his death.

Born in Kassel, Germany, in 1744, to a bookseller and a merchant’s daughter, Ewald entered military service at 16. He joined the infantry regiment, Gilsa, and fought in the Seven Years War, and then did 14 years garrison duty. He also studied military science. In 1774, he was promoted to captain and put in charge of the elite Jäger unit. In 1776, and thanks to an agreement between Frederick II and King George III, the unit sailed across the Atlantic to join British troops in the American War of Independence. During the Southern Campaign, in 1780, Ewald’s unit helped at the siege of Charleston. Following the British surrender, Ewald returned to New York on parole, and spent the end of 1782 and 1783 on Long Island before being released through a prisoner exchange.

On returning to Kassel in 1784, and after the death of Frederick II, Ewald was denied promotion, so he joined the Danish army which appointed him a lieutenant-colonel. Subsequently, he was ennobled to Johann Von Ewald and made commanding general of the Duchy of Holstein. Ewald also wrote several books on military issues, such as Treatise on Partisan Warfare and Treatise on the Service of Light Troops. He died on 25 June 1813. Further biographical information is available at Wikipedia or at the Hesse Kassel Jaeger Korps website.

While on campaign in America, between 1776 and 1784, Ewald kept a detailed diary. It appears that three volumes were looked after by his family for generations until 1948, when a clerk in Vienna offered them for sale to Joseph P. Tustin, who was, at the time, a historian with the US Air Forces in Europe. Tustin tracked down the text of a fourth volume, though not the original, and then translated and edited the diary. This was published by Yale University Press in 1979 as Diary of the American War - A Hessian Journal. More details are available in an archived New York Times article. The full work can be read at the Hesse Kassel Jaeger Korps website (a 40mb pdf); and a few pages are also available to read online thanks to the American Heritage website.

According to Tustin, Ewald’s diary ‘is an outstanding contribution to the literature of the American Revolution. Certainly it is the most important and comprehensive diary kept by a Hessian mercenary.’ Tustin’s text - and presumably Ewald’s - does not read like a diary with dated entries, but more like a narrative written in retrospect. Here is an excerpt from near the end of the diary, after the war, concerning 21-22 October 1784, when Ewald is intent on finding out more about the American fort at West Point.

‘At seven o’clock in the morning I left my quarters and arrived about noon in Tarrytown, which lies twenty-three miles from my quarters and thirty miles from New York. Since this place was a scene of action for both combatants during the entire war which sometimes we and sometimes the Americans had occupied, it frequently had happened that I occupied this town with a party. As the inhabitants of the place and the surrounding area were all on the side of the Congress, our people were not usually received in the friendliest manner.

The first fellow I met in town, in front of the door of the tavern where I desired to stop for lunch, was one of the most fiery ringleaders, whom I had caught on a patrol and who had been put in chains and fetters. As soon as I recognized him, I asked him in quite friendly fashion how he felt, whereupon he replied indifferently with a look distorted by spite. I asked him if I could have something to eat and fodder for my horses for money. He answered with a short “Yes!” but his face brightened somewhat, since he expected to gain some money from me.

While I was dismounting and walking into the house, a number of residents of the town assembled. At the mention of my name they whispered a “God damn!” in each other’s ears, whereby I noticed that they had not yet forgotten the punches in the ribs which they had received from the Jägers [Hessian riflemen] during their imprisonment. Why! The womenfolk inside the house could scarcely stand the sight of me! I certainly expected an unpleasant reception and finished my lunch as quickly as possible. But what can money not do? As soon as I asked what my bill came to, and paid seven piasters into the woman’s hand for a poor meal, without any argument and without showing that it was too expensive, all the faces in the entire house brightened. They wished me a pleasant journey and asked me not to pass up their house on my return trip.

Since we could not use the old bridge across the Croton River, we had to take our route over the new bridge and travel several miles along the new road toward Peekskill which the American army had built during the war. Because the road had to be constructed for miles on the slopes of a steep and rocky mountain range along the right bank of the Croton River, much honor is due the man who designed it.

Toward eight o’clock in the evening we arrived at Peekskill, a small town of about eighty houses, only average buildings among them, which lies close to a deep valley on the left bank of the Hudson River and is surrounded by rocky hills. Since there is not a single good tavern in this place, several private individuals are keeping public houses to accommodate strangers or travelers. My address was directed to Madam Bourges, who is one of the finest women in this town. However, the entire house was full of strangers, and we were refused with much politeness and referred to another house, where we did not fare any better. Hence we went to a third one. Here we at last found accommodations for ourselves and our horses. It was quite lucky for us that we were very tired and craved lodgings more than a good dinner, for the latter was so poor that none of it could be consumed. Meanwhile, our host, who had served with the Americans during the entire war, was very courteous. Since I was not recognized here, and we were taken for French officers, everyone was exceptionally polite, for I took great care not to show that I had ever been here before, and had burned the barracks and several magazines two miles away.

Early on the 22d we breakfasted as soon as possible, badly and filthy, and after I had paid a guinea for the blessings we received we continued our journey. In this area begins the mountain range called the Highlands by the inhabitants, which is some twenty miles deep and cuts across America. The roads across these mountains are so steep that one is compelled to ride foot by foot, with the greatest caution. Because of the rocky ground, the area is so sparsely inhabited that for a distance of nine miles we did not see over ten miserable cabins, whose occupants lived from the chase and who did not make the best company.

When one observes the narrow and unfinished roads which cross these mountains, it is amazing that the Americans permitted us to penetrate into this region without interference four or five years ago, when two or three determined officers with a hundred men could have stopped at each step the best and strongest armies for several days, and where each step of the attacking party would have had to have been bought with blood. Due to the bad roads there are few vehicles in this area, and all travelers of both sexes whom we met on the way were on horseback.

Toward midday we arrived at Nelson’s Ferry, where a well-built country house of medium size lies on a small plain on the left bank of the North River. This plain is commanded by two redoubts, called North and South redoubts, which are constructed on steep and rocky heights.

Even in this house, which is occupied by a well-to-do man named Nelson, is another residence where one finds lodging as a “favor” and for a stiff price. In front of the door we found a middle-aged woman whom I asked to accommodate us, and who quite politely consented, after making it clear to us that her house has no tavern.

Here in this house I soon found an American officer who related to me that his brother had been shot by the Jägers at Elizabethtown in the Jerseys. I regretted this and steered the conversation to the question of whom I should turn to for permission to see the fortifications at West Point. We were informed that a General McDougall resided scarcely a mile from here, but he did not have the command of the fortifications. Nevertheless, we considered it our duty to pay a visit to this gentleman. We were scarcely halfway to the general’s residence when he met us, and as soon as we had identified ourselves he offered us the hospitality of his house with all politeness for as long as we intended to stay. But since we could not accept this, out of courtesy, we asked him for a pass to cross the North River. He accompanied us to the plantation where we were to descend, furnished us with a pass, ordered his boat, and himself accompanied us to the opposite shore. When we thanked him, he invited us to his table the following day.

As soon as we arrived at West Point we found a battery of four guns which commanded the narrow channel of the river between this place and Point Constitution. This point is a complete peninsula, which is attached to the left bank of the North River by a marshy isthmus. It extends into the river so close to the opposite point that the river, which makes a sharp bend here, is only four hundred paces wide but fifty to sixty fathoms deep. This peninsula forms a steep cliff on all sides, on which three redoubts had been constructed to sweep the river and the side where it connects with the left bank by a marshy tongue of land. On this side there is a barracks for three hundred men, which, however, is not protected from the water side.

The duty officer of the battery at West Point received us very politely, and immediately provided us with a noncommissioned officer who led us to the quarters of the commandant, who is General Knox. As soon as we climbed up the steep bank several hundred fathoms from the battery situated at the end of the promontory, we found ourselves on a natural place d’armes about one and a half German miles long and a good half mile wide. It is surrounded by a chain of steep and rocky mountains six to seven German miles deep, which form a semicircle of which the North River is the diameter and across which only footpaths lead.

We were received very courteously by General Knox, whose figure is quite distinguished and venerable. He consented at once to our request to inspect the fortifications. Since I strengthened his conviction that it was a formidable and impregnable position, he asked us to his table and provided us with his adjutant, Captain Lillie, as an escort, who probably was instructed to what extent he should show us the fortifications.

We then went to Fort Clinton, which is situated on the point above the water battery mentioned. It is quadrangular, with broken flanks, and commands the river from all directions. Afterward, we inspected the barracks, which are secure against all armed vessels, since the right bank of the river is very high and the rocks at most places rise perpendicularly.

On this walk the captain took us to the artillery park, which consists of approximately eighty pieces, all of which had been captured from the English during the war, and on which the place and occasion of capture were engraved in big letters. What touched me most strongly and profoundly, and led me into deep reflection for several minutes, were three light 3-pounders which looked as simple as a Quaker. They had been cast at Philadelphia, were the first cannon in the American army, and had comprised their entire field artillery in the first and second campaigns.

I became totally lost in my meditations as I tried to imagine the American army in its wretched condition, such as we had often encountered it during the year 1776 and chased it from hill to hill. On the other side I tried to envisage the splendid and formidable army of the English, consisting mostly of veterans who despite all dangers had swum across nearly a half of the earth’s diameter. But they were put to such poor use that eight campaigns were lost, followed by the loss of thirteen provinces, which, in a word, had torn down the crown of England from its loftiest peak. How ashamed must a man like General Grant now feel, who at the outbreak of the war declared in Parliament that he could make America obedient again with six thousand men, since according to his reports most people were loyalists.

Since the hour of three had passed during the course of this walk, and it was time to return to the general, Captain Lillie offered to show us the rest of the fortifications after dinner or early in the morning. Once more we were courteously received by the general and by Madam Knox, and introduced to some twenty American staff and other officers, whose names I have completely forgotten except that of a Colonel Vose, a distinguished and talkative gentleman. After a short time we went to the table, where I had the good fortune of being seated between madam and the general. Madam Knox had a quite pleasant face and very lively brown eyes, but I heard no other sound from her than those words I could extract. The general, who had been a bookdealer in Boston before the war, appeared to be a reasonable and well-read man, considering all the books he had studied in his business, which he showed especially when the conversation turned to finance and accounting. One could see the fancied happiness of this company from the look in everyone’s eyes as soon as the conversation turned to free trade, with which they complimented themselves to a great extent. But when one talked to them as soldiers, they made it known at once that they would be happy to disband as soon as the order was issued for the remainder of the army, which still consisted of five thousand men. Then that object for which they had drawn their swords would have been obtained, and they considered themselves fortunate enough to be independent and at peace, and now able to reap their flax.

Toward half-past five we arose from the table and strolled to the parade ground, where the entire garrison, consisting of about 3,200 men, was drawn up in battalion formation and accounted for and inspected as usual. The shortest men formed the first rank, which was introduced by General Baron von Steuben, the Inspector General, who has his usefulness in the field but who makes a very poor figure on parade.

The men looked haggard and pallid and were poorly dressed. Indeed, very many stood quite proudly under arms without shoes and stockings. Although I shuddered at the distress of these men, it filled me with awe for them, for I did not think there was an army in the world which could be maintained as cheaply as the American army. It was not even permitted to requisition straw during the campaigns, since the country could not have borne the expense. The barracks at West Point as well as those at all permanent places had to be built by the soldiers with their own hands, without compensation. Shoemakers and tailors who are assigned to regiments must work for nothing for their officers and regiments; their only benefit being exemption from guard duty - What army could be maintained in this manner? None, certainly, for the whole army would gradually run away. - This, too, is a part of that “Liberty and Independence” for which these poor fellows had to have their arms and legs smashed.- But to what cannot enthusiasm lead a people!’

The Diary Junction

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Golding condition

It is 20 years since the death of William Golding, the great British writer, author of Lord of the Flies. A large literary archive containing two decades’ worth of daily diary entries remains privately held by his family, and only snippets have been made public thanks to a biography by John Carey. However, Carey has claimed that Golding’s diary is unique ‘as an author’s systematic exploration of his unconscious and examination of his conscious life’. What a shame, then, that none of Golding’s diaries have yet been edited for publication, not only for what he has to say about the human condition, but what they have to say about the Golding condition.

Golding was born in Cornwall in 1911, but grew up at his family home in Marlborough, Wiltshire. He studied at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father was a science teacher, and at Oxford University, transferring, after two years, from natural sciences to English literature. He published a first book of poems in 1934, the same year he graduated; and he married Ann Brookfield in 1939 with whom he had two children. He served with the Royal Navy during the war, and, after it, he returned to teaching at Bishop Wordsworth’s School in Salisbury, and to writing.

In 1953, Golding sent a manuscript to Faber & Faber of London, which was reportedly rescued from the trash by a new editor, Charles Monteith. Lord of the Flies was published the following year, and was soon followed by other novels, including The Inheritors, Pincher Martin and Free Fall. In 1958, he and Ann moved to live in Bowerchalke, Wiltshire, where they would remain for nearly 30 years. In 1961-1962, he went to the US as a writer-in residence. The trip brought him some fame and wealth, prompting him to give up teaching on his return. His next novel The Spire was published in 1964, and The Pyramid in 1967, but these books were followed by a fallow and difficult writing period, one which would last until the second half of the 1970s.

From the late 1970s, though, Golding’s literary reputation began to sore, first with Darkness Visible, which won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, then with Rites of Passage which won the booker, and then with the Nobel Literary Prize in 1983. In 1985, the Goldings moved to a house called Tullimaar in Cornwall. Also that year, Faber and Faber published Golding’s An Egyptian Journal, and thereafter it published two sequels to Rites of Passage. Golding died on 19 June 1993, and was buried in Bowerchalke. A little further biographical information is available at Wikipedia, at Faber and Faber, the Nobel Prize website, and at a Golding website run by his family.

In 2009, there was a resurgence of media interest in Golding when Faber and Faber published a first biography of the writer, by John Carey, professor of literature at Oxford University. Initial publicity for the book focused on a revelation, found in the archive, that Golding considered he had attempted, as an undergraduate, to rape a 15-year-old girlfriend - see The Guardian, or The Independent. The biography, though, has been much acclaimed. William Boyd, reviewing the book for The New York Times says: ‘Carey [. . .] writes with great wit and lucidity as well as authority and compassionate insight. Perhaps because he has had the opportunity of reading the mass of Golding’s unpublished intimate journals, he brings unusual understanding to the complex and deeply troubled man who lies behind the intriguing but undeniably idiosyncratic novels.’ He concludes by calling the biography ‘superb’. Much of it can be previewed at Googlebooks.

Golding’s diaries - 5,000 pages of them written every day for over 20 years - are part of the Golding archive, which is still kept privately by the family. Carey was the first researcher to be given access to this archive. Of the diaries, he says this: ‘Besides being an intimate account of his private life, and a treasure-house of memories of his childhood and youth, the journal is a behind-the-scenes revelation of the writer’s craft, reporting each day on the progress of whatever novel he is at work on, tracing its origins, trying out alternative plot-lines, and criticizing, often violently, what he has written so far. Further, he began the journal as a dream diary, and though his waking life gradually came to dominate, he continued to record dreams almost to the end, together with his interpretations and identification of the incidents they recalled. As an author’s systematic exploration of his unconscious and examination of his conscious life, Golding’s journal is, I think, unique.’ Carey’s other main source was the correspondence between Golding and his editor at Faber and Faber, Charles Monteith.

Although the biography relies so heavily on Golding’s diaries (and there is a long list of diary dates at the back of the book provided as information sources), Carey rarely uses significant verbatim extracts: here and there, one can find phrases quoted to illustrate a point, but there are less than a handful of longer extracts. There are, however, further insights into the journal. From 1971, Carey says, when Golding found himself unable to work on a new book, he occupied himself with various displacement activities, and one of these was keeping a journal, ‘which he wrote up every day, usually before 10am, recording everything from metaphysical speculations to the weekly trip to Salisbury for Ann to get her hair done’.

Carey continues: ‘He realized that the journal was “little but an effort to relieve the sorrow, the grief, the pain” of not being able to write a book, and its pointlessness often dismayed him. “I don’t seem to do anything else”, he fretted. He invented comic nicknames (“Pewter” and “Bolonius”) for the “ridiculous and wearisome” everyday self who filled its pages with reams of mundane detail. But at least his daily stint made him feel he was still, in some some sense, a writer. At the present rate, he worked out in April 1972, he would clock up 182,500 words in just half a year, “the equivalent, more or less, of all the books I’ve written”. Eventually, the journal stretched to two and a half million words.’

Golding published one so-called journal in his lifetime - An Egyptian Journal - but as Carey notes this was not actually a diary text at all: ‘It is natural to imagine that An Egyptian Journal is the journal he kept while in Egypt. But that is not so. The journal he kept day by day on the Hani is cursory, consisting of disjointed notes with occasional outbursts of impatience (“One feels really more and more like giving up”; “My God. The silly sods have run out of fuel.”) An Egyptian Journal was commotion recollected in tranquility. Turning his notes into a book took months. He talked it over with Ann, and decided that what was needed was “a sort of complex sewing-job”, amplifying his jottings, and interspersing new material to “make it vivid”.’

Here though are two extracts from Golding’s diary taken from Carey’s biography. The first, dated 10 April 1972 I think, consists of some recollections about the poet and Faber man, T. S. Eliot; and the second is an extract included by Carey in his postscript, though I cannot work out its date.

‘Eliot was fairly impressive in a Donnish sort of way, but not excessively so. Charles [Monreith] led Ann and me to see him as to a god. We sat fairly mum while he talked of umbrellas and rubber trees. Later he informed me that Simon in Lord of the Flies must be cut to the bone. ‘We cannot portray a saint, Mr Ah. But for evil we need only to look into our own hearts’. The silly old twit. As if I hadn’t known that. Another time at a Faber cocktail party Frazer [G. S. Fraser] the Anthologist cannoned into my back so that I bowed forward and spilt champagne down Mr Eliot’s trousers while he was saying, “No, no, no” to Arthur Koestler. Thus I not only worshipped at the god’s shrine but poured a libation, not to say an anointment. He leapt back with an agility startling in one so mummified, striking out at his salt and pepper Edwardian trousers. I cannot say that we were intimate friends.’

‘One day, if my literary reputation holds up, people will examine my life, and they will come to the conclusion that I am a monster and possibly they will finally say tout comprendre and all that. They will think they know all but they won’t. No matter how deep they dig they won’t reach the root that has made me a monster in deed, word and thought. No one but I knows that, or suffers it. This is not guilt, it is self knowledge.’

‘What would,’ Carey asks in the postscript to his biography, ‘[Golding] have thought about his private journals being made public, as it is in this book?’ He answers his own question by suggesting that Golding knew at the deepest level that he was writing for an audience, and that he knew some parts would cause pain and embarrassment. Carey also tries to give a sense of the Golding he found in the diary: ‘How, then, would I characterize him as he comes across in the journal? The emotion he felt most vividly and often behind his disguise was, I think, fear, on a scale varying from mild anxiety to terror. He had been a sensitive, frightened child, and he grew into a sensitive, frightened man.’

But, all we really have in the public domain of Golding’s vast diary is the information and sparse quotes as filtered through Carey. And these few actual snippets only serve to whet one’s appetite for more. It seems a shame, a great loss indeed, that there is no project - as far as I am aware of - to edit or publish his diaries. While I can understand the family’s wish for privacy, and, perhaps, to control the world’s image of Golding, there are several excellent reasons, surely, why his diaries ought to be published. Firstly, and foremostly, he was an acknowledged, world class, great writer and so in all likelihood there is a lot of great writing in them.

Secondly, the diaries contain far more of Golding’s thoughts about the world and the human condition than he polished and crafted for the novels. Thirdly, there must be many an insight about literary creativity in general, and, more specifically, about the creativity behind his novels (though, admittedly, Carey has mined this vein fairly thoroughly).

Fourthly - most fascinating of all - is that, like the most interesting of all diaries, Golding’s are personal, intimate, and self-analytical, not written (at least directly) for publication, which means they are likely to give a fascinating and deeper insight into the man. They may not give us all of the root that made him ‘a monster in deed, word and thought’, indeed the reverse is likely to be true, but they will tell us far more than we already know about the Golding condition.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

My father’s death

‘Today is my last chance to chase flies away from his sleeping body. Thus the day ended. From the basin of water by his pillow, all I could do was wet his lips without hope.’ This is Kobayashi Issa, the great Japanese haiku poet, writing in a diary about the death of his father in 1801. And today - the 250th anniversary of his birth - is a good one to remember him.

Issa was born in a farmhouse on 15 June 1763 in Shinano Province (present-day Nagano Prefecture, 120 miles or so northwest of Tokyo). His mother died when he was three, and he was brought up by his grandmother until she too died. His father remarried, and had another child, causing strained relations between Issa and the rest of the family. Aged only 14 he was sent to Edo (present-day Tokyo) to work. In time, he studied haiku, and travelled through Japan. By 1790, he had already established a reputation as a poet with several publications.

Issa’s father died in 1801, and he entered a bitter legal struggle with his step-brother over the inheritance which took more than a decade to resolve. In the early 1810s, he returned to his native village, married a young woman, named Kiku, and rose to a position of regional eminence as a poet. His wife and his young children all died young, and he married twice more before dying himself in 1827. He is said to have written 20,000 haiku (many of them on insects and small creatures), as well as other literary works. Further biographical information is available from Wikipedia, Kirjasto, or the Kobayashi Issa Museum website.

One of Issa’s most enduring works is a diary describing the last days of his father’s life, Chichi no Shuen Nikki, published in English as Last Days of Issa’s Father (which has its own Wikipedia entry). It was written on the back of sheets of Saitancho, or New Year’s memorandum paper, and was passed down by generations of the descendants of Kubota Shunko, one of Issa’s disciples. It is held today by Issakan, a museum dedicated to Issa in Takayama-mura, Nagano Prefecture.

For a detailed analysis of the text, and several good extracts (including the one below) see The Death of Kobayashi Yagobei by Scot Hislop, National University of Singapore, in Early Modern Japan. Several extracts can also be found in the anthology Early Modern Japanese Literature, edited by Haruo Shirane, and partially viewable at Googlebooks.

The twentieth day, fifth month
‘Father’s fever continued to worsen. In the morning he ate just a bowl of gruel. Around noon his face became pale. Eyes half closed, his mouth moved as if he were trying to say something. With each breath phlegm rattled around as though it were attacking his life and so he became weaker and weaker. As the sun streaming through the window approached the hour of the sheep, father could no longer make out the faces of people. The situation was hopeless. I would have gladly traded my life for his if I could but once more see him alive, strong, and eating. It was so desperate that even the most famous doctors in the world such Kiba and Hen Jaku would not have had the skill to save him. Without the intervention of the gods there was nothing left but to invoke Amida.
Today is my last chance to chase flies away from his sleeping body.
Thus the day ended. From the basin of water by his pillow, all I could do was wet his lips without hope.
The moon of the twentieth night shone through the window. The neighbors had quieted down and gone to sleep. At about the time that the cock should start to crow, the sound of father’s breathing died down and the phlegm that rose from his heart sometimes blocked his throat. Even if I could not save his life, I should have at least liked to have cleared the phlegm. But since I am not as great a doctor as Ka Da, I have no extraordinary skill as a healer. There was nothing left to do but wait, with deep sadness and pain, for the hour of my father’s death. The gods did not take pity on us and as the dawn began to break, just after the hour of the rabbit, father stopped breathing and seemed as if he were asleep.
We surrounded the corpse. I prayed that this was but a dream from which I would soon awake. Be it dream or reality, it felt as though I were left without a candle in the darkness and that nothing remained in the world to rely on.
Beckoned by the wind, the fickle flowers of spring scatter. In this world of ceaseless change the autumn moon often hides behind clouds. Moreover, those who are born must certainly die and those who meet must assuredly part. It is the way of the world. It is the road that all must travel once. But not knowing whether my father would travel it today or tomorrow was foolish. Even though evening after evening I nursed my father in earnest, it all came to naught in an instant. Those who had been fighting with my father until yesterday surrounded the corpse and began to wail. The voices of those chanting the name of Amida were hoarse. Now they realized that the duties of those who grow old together and share the same grave had not been fulfilled.’

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Diary briefs

Les Dawson diaries discovered - The Mirror

Diaries of women during the Anglo-Boer War - Zebra Press

Digger Dudley’s diary from Gallipoli - Narooma News

Chris Huhne’s ex-wife to publish prison diaries - Southern Daily Echo

JFK’s travel diaries published - Daily Mail, Haaretz

War Journey: Diary of a Tamil Tiger - Tamilnet, Penguin India

US marine’s diary found in museum - Washington Post

Girl’s diaries printed after death - BBC, Jemima Layzell website, The Independent

Diary of British soldier in Afghanistan - Daily Mail

Paris war diary of Sheffield uni academic to be made into film - Yorkshire Post

Columbia University acquires Dawn Powell diaries - The New York Times