Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Jane Shilling considers the wisdom of retaining private diaries. This is occasioned by the upcoming publication of the teenage diaries of novelist Margaret Forster. The case of Waugh’s diaries is considered:
What would Forster have felt about the publication of her private writings, her husband wondered in a recent newspaper article, concluding that all diarists have posterity “at the back of their mind, whatever they say out loud”. Can that be true? “Why did he keep it at all,” speculated the editor of the published version of Evelyn Waugh’s notoriously disobliging diaries, eventually concluding that Waugh had been “laying down a store of experience”. Which is, I suppose, the force that drives all acts of personal record-keeping, from Pepys’s diaries to the current plethora of blogs and artfully filtered Instagram moments.
Having considered matters, Shilling found her teenage diaries and consigned them to the shredder.