"I certainly have the subjects in my mind": the diary of Anne Frank as bildungsroman

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O'Donnell, Daniel Paul
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Canadian Association for the Advancement of Netherlandic Studies / Association canadienne pour l'avancement des etudes neerlandaises (CAANS-ACAEN)
This article examines the techniques used by Anne Frank in revising her diaries for what she intended to be a post war publication. The article begins by reviewing the scholarly and political contexts in which the Diaries are normally discussed. It then shows the extent to which Frank's revisions of her diaries (from the "a" to "b" versions) were the result of a conscious rethinking of the work's purpose and audience and begun only after several months' deliberations. Finally, the article looks at the nature of the revisions Frank made to the content of her diaries, focussing primarily on the first few months. In these entries in particular Frank shows a willingness to alter the known facts of her history in order to improve the plot and emotional impact of her experiences. She shortens time-lines, reduces the number of characters, and deletes and adds events and dialogue all with an eye towards emphasizing the extraordinary nature of the events that had overfallen her and the degree to which they allowed for the development of her latent ability as an author. In rewriting the Diary as Het Achterhuis, Frank was not simply revising: her second version is an artistic reworking of the raw material in her daily journals, a reworking that reflects clear literary goals.
Permission to include this article granted by Dr. Inge Genee, editor of Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies
Anne Frank , Book history , Authorial history , Revision practices , Authorial intention , Diaries , Bildungsroman , Children's literature
O'Donnell, D. P. (2011). "I certainly have the subjects in my mind": the diary of Anne Frank as bildungsroman. Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies/Revue canadienne d'etudes neerlandaises, 32, (2), 49-88.