Woven Tapestries: Dialogues and Dilemmas in Editing a Diary
Keywords:diaries, Mass Observation, Naomi Mitchison, World War Two
Naomi Mitchison (1897-1999) was an established novelist and political campaigner throughout her life. During the Second World War, she kept an extensive daily diary from her home on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland which she sent in instalments to the London offices of the social research organisation, Mass Observation. Until the 1980s, this diary, together with 500 other diaries for the same period, remained largely unread. It was stored as part of the valuable Mass Observation Archive which was deposited at the University of Sussex in 1970. Between 1982 and 1984 it was edited for publication by Dorothy Sheridan, the Mass Observation archivist, in collaboration with Naomi Mitchison herself. It was first published as a book in 1985 by Gollancz as Among you taking notes: the wartime diary of Naomi Mitchison 1939-1945. This article is an account of the collaborative process of editing the original diary for publication and addresses questions of ownership, ethics and methodology raised by the process of editing life documents.
Copyright (c) 2021 Dorothy Sheridan
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