Jeroen Blaak is a member of the research group Egodocuments, Erasmus University Rotterdam. He has written on several early modern and modern Dutch diaries and autobiographies.
Readers with an interest in book history, the history of reading, literacy, media and the history of communication, as well as those interested in the history of autobiographical writing.
"Blaak illustrates not just what kind of books these people read - even listing the titles - but also how, why, and where they read them. He writes this book from the relatively new and refreshing angle of media history, especially examining the interaction between the printed, the written, and the spoken word. Literacy in Everyday Life is an entertaining and well-documented study, with some surprising conclusions.[...] Blaak places his study in a wider international context [...]. This makes his book very readable, as well as useful for the international researcher."
Mark Towsey, Dutch Crossing 34 (2010) 279-281
"Literacy in Everyday Life is an entertaining and well-documented study, with some surprising conclusions. By giving detailed information on these diarists' lives, their reading behaviour is placed into context, and is linked to everyday social practices. In this way, Blaak identifies how books dominated conversations, or how ideas influenced the readers' choice or, more importantly, the reception of books. He is able to nuance findings from traditional book historical research [...] Blaak places his study in a wider international context by referring to foreign studies, and especially to English research. This makes his book very readable, as well as useful for the international researcher."
Mirella Marini in Dutch Crossing vol. 34, no. 3, November 2010
Table of contents
List of illustrations
List of abbreviations and archive names
I. Historical research on reading and writing: from book ownership to the use of media
II. Mirror of literacy: reading and writing in the diary (1624) of David Beck
III. Aristocratic literacy: Pieter Teding van Berkhout and his ‘journal’ (1669-1712)
IV. Aural and eyewitness testimony: reading, writing, and discussions of current affairs in Jan de Boer’s chronological journal (1747-1758)
V. A devout reader and writer: literacy in Jacoba van Thiel’s ‘account-book of the soul’ (1767-1770)
VI. Literacy in everyday life
Appendix I: Reading behaviour in figures
Appendix II: Titles of books mentioned in the diaries
List of sources