How Do Diaries Begin? The Narrative Rites of Adolescent Diaries in Hungary


  • Gergely Kunt University of Miskolc, Hungary



diary-writing, narrative methods, adolescent diaries, Second World War


This paper examines the narrative tropes of Hungarian adolescent diaries written during and after World War II, primarily focusing on the rhetorical forms of beginning a diary that fall into two categories characteristic of adolescent diary-writing – beginning with an introduction describing the author and their environment, or beginning with a memoir in which the author summarizes the most important events of the period between their birth and the start of the diary. The paper also discusses how adolescents personified their diary books and intended those for their adult selves in the course of diary-writing as dialogue.

Author Biography

Gergely Kunt, University of Miskolc, Hungary

Gergely Kunt is a social historian and Lecturer at the University of Miskolc, Hungary, and teaches the social history of Hungary and East Central Europe. His
dissertation on social ideas and prejudices during World War II was based on a comparative analysis of Jewish and Christian adolescent diaries. He has been collecting privately-owned diaries and has acquired a great number of unpublished diary manuscripts from the period of the Holocaust and is one of the founding members of the European Diary Archives and Collections (EDAC).


This article was submitted to the European Journal of Life Writing on 14 October 2014 and published on 25 June 2015. A new version of the text (correcting the date of Magdolna Szabo's death from 1988 to 1989) was published on 26 June 2015.