Date of Award
"Who is your favorite author?" "Do you believe in love at first sight?" "What is the mark of a true friend?" These questions are not mere conversation starters, but are representative of a literary genre - namely the confession album. While the original date of appearance for the confession album, also called autograph album or survey, is uncertain, they became extremely popular both in the United Kingdom and America during the mid-nineteenth century. The questions and form of the confession book evolved over the next century, but their popularity never died out. Even today, they exist in the form of email surveys and magazine questionnaires. Seemingly trivial, these confession books are highly representative ephemera of the era in which they were written and give direct insight into the author of the survey. Autograph albums can be viewed as mini autobiographies that provide not only rare insight into the personal lives of youth growing up during the Victorian era, but also show evidence of the influence of Victorian social politics upon individual. More than a "sentimental game," the autograph offers insights into an integral part of Victorian autobiography.
Marinello, Amanda Ashley, "Vivisection and Pastries: Examining the Social and Sexual Politics of the Victorian Era Through the Confession Albums of JM Barrie and Willa Cather" (2007). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 686.
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Departmental Honors Advisor