Popular Autobiography in Switzerland
Keywords:Switzerland, autobiography, working-class, social mobility, literacy, everyday history
Switzerland has a very old and lively tradition of working-class writing, including outstanding examples such as Augustin Güntzer, Ulrich Bräker or the weavers Matthias and Heinrich Senn. This rich culture is due to the high social mobility, relatively early successful literacy and Protestant self-introspection. Then, though there are not many texts written by left wing workers, male and female, there is a substantial number of texts written by men and women from the margins of society. These texts are not strongly ideological and are thus very interesting sources for everyday history. Despite this tradition, there is a lack of institutional and scientific interest in collecting and conserving autobiographical texts in Switzerland. This article traces the Swiss tradition of working-class life writing, relating it to the social and cultural factors which enabled it; highlights some of the scholarship of editing and interpretation which these texts have generated; and indicates the author’s own contribution to the task of collecting and cataloguing Swiss popular autobiographical texts.
Copyright (c) 2018 Fabian Brändle
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