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Women’s writings have always served the purpose of communal memory. Thanks to them, life in the home, family activities, and lineage have been documented in family books about the fortunes of its members, and in autobiographies and diaries. In the nineteenth century, the memoirist took on the added endeavour of making her life story morally edifying, confessing to and instructing about her mistakes, and thus turning her human experiences to use.

For others, writing was a way in which to relate to an outside existence. The Danish clergyman’s wife Eline Boisen wrote her extensive memoirs from huge bitterness and anger, wrote herself out of her isolation and loneliness: “I am trapped between four walls,” she wrote symbolically in her preface; writing was the creative force that connected her with the world.